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EAR Program Supports Pedestrian Safety Research Projects

The following publications provide information about research supported by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program into issues affecting pedestrian safety.

New Transportation Simulation Technology for Safer Roadways

A photograph of a research participant wearing a virtual reality head-mounted display stands in front of a large video screen with her simulated avatar to her right.The EAR Program is sponsoring two research projects that are using simulators to study multiple modes of transportation simultaneously.  

Developing Connected Simulation to Study Interactions Between Drivers, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists. At the University of Iowa, researchers are connecting the National Advanced Driving Simulator with pedestrian and bicycle simulators to simulate multiple modes of transportation in real time.

InterchangeSE: A Federated Multimodal Simulation Environment for Studying Interactions Between Different Modes of Travel. Researchers at Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center and the Institute for Transportation are developing a system to allow multiple simulation systems to work together, even if they are running on different platforms.

Read the fact sheet here

FHWA White Paper on Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs) are fluid, movable wireless networks that can form independently on an as-needed basis and do not require any fixed networking infrastructure to operate. As connectivity and communication become more vital to transportation needs, there is a tremendous opportunity for the use of MANETs to improve safety, systems efficiency, and mobility on our roads. For more information, read the EAR Program's White Paper

The EAR Program currently is sponsoring two projects exploring the potential use of MANETs. For the project Harnessing Mobile Ad Hoc Networks to Improve Vulnerable Road User Safety, researchers at the University of Wisconsin are investigating a MANET-based, infrastructure-free, and secure framework that improves the safety of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists when their safety is most threatened (e.g., non-intersection crossings at midblock, lightly lit areas, evening and late-night situations, and jaywalking). More information about the project is available here.

Exploring Mobile Ad Hoc Networks to Enable Connected Transportation Services. At the University of Virginia, researchers are investigating using MANETs to allow for a connected transportation system that meets the needs of all travelers. This research could result in new approaches for traffic safety in rural areas where there is limited connected vehicle infrastructure. More information about the project is available here.

Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired Persons: Developing Situational Awareness and Guidance Solutions for People with Vision Impairment and Other Disabilities

A close-up photo of a man in a green T-shirt wearing a chest-mounted assistive technology device.The EAR Program supported three projects to aid visually impaired pedestrians. 

Extended Event Horizon Navigation and Wayfinding for Blind and Visually Impaired Pedestrians in Unstructured Environments focused on the development of a navigation system that can present accurate wayfinding information to a visually impaired user when it is critical and needed, whether indoors or outdoors. The system fills in gaps where Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation is insufficient for large, unstructured environments.

Intelligent Situation Awareness and Navigation Aid for Visually Impaired Persons explored and developed situation awareness and assistive navigation technologies to provide visually impaired persons with obstacle avoidance and intelligent wayfinding capabilities in indoor and outdoor environments.

Navigation Guidance for People with Vision Impairment developed a navigation aid to track the location of a user anywhere, including areas without GPS. Such a tool will help increase the mobility of people with vision disability by providing them spatial awareness for long-path planning and guidance.

For more information, read the fact sheet Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired Persons

Real-Time Pedestrian Detection Layered Object Recognition System for Pedestrian Collision Sensing

Layered Object Recognition System for Pedestrian Collision Sensing developed a real-time, in-vehicle, vision-only system to detect pedestrians and to determine potential collisions with high accuracy and minimal typical driving conditions. The EAR Program published a fact sheet and a report about the project. 

Wearable Sensors in Transportation--Exploratory Advanced Research Program Initial Stage Investigation

A close-up photo of a shoe with a yellow, rectangular assistive technology device tied to the laces.The EAR Program published a report summarizing an initial stage investigation into wearable sensors for transportation research applications. The report's authors include a summary of observations made by the project team regarding the use of wearable sensors for public sector transportation research. A few benefits of this technology are more robust multimodal travel-behavior surveying and increased understanding of passenger flows and facility crowding. 

Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2020