Mobile Phone Use and Walking: An Observational Field Study of Pedestrians’ Risky Behaviours and Inattentional Blindness

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


Background: Literature has suggested that talking and driving constitutes a dual-task that compromises a driver’s ability to manoeuvre the vehicle safely, and leads to increased cognitive distraction and reduced situation awareness. Recent handsets with touch screens, as well as more advanced features including multimedia, and APPs (e.g., Line, M+), deteriorate the abovementioned problems. Given the impact phone use may have on driving safety, recently concerns have been raised about the effects texting, using APPs, and listening to music may have on pedestrian safety. Aims: The present research attempts to investigate the effect of phone use (talking, texting, listening to music) on pedestrian behaviours during walking and road-crossing. Method: A naturalistic walking study using video cameras will be conducted, in which pedestrians’ behaviours (e.g., walking time, whether they look at right direction before crossing, frequency of turning heads when road-crossing), are recorded/observed. Pedestrians are classified into two groups: experimental group (talking, texting, listening to music) and control group (no distraction). Pedestrians’ inattentional blindness is also examined by evaluating whether they notice an unusual object (i.e., a clown) nearby. The two-year project investigates pedestrians’ walking (within the campus) and road-crossing behaviours in years 1 and 2 respectively. Participants’ personal attributes, phone use/handset characteristics (unlimited internet access, APP use, smartphone) are used as independent variables. The present research aims to successfully identify the contributory factors to certain risky behaviours, and facilitate potential countermeasures.
Effective start/end date8/1/1410/31/15


  • Pedestrian behaviour
  • Phone use
  • Texting and walking
  • Pedestrian safety
  • _x000d_ Smartphone


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