Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics

Connected Electric Vehicles: Vehicle-Pedestrian Communications to Enhance Vision Impaired Pedestrian Safety


The steady increase of electric vehicles (EVs) on roadways has led to safety concerns for vulnerable populations. The electric motor utilized in EVs produces considerably less noise compared to the internal combustion engine (ICE) in gasoline-powered vehicles, especially when traveling at slow speeds. Although pedestrians across all demographics are at risk, visually impaired pedestrians face significantly greater disadvantages in environments where ambient noise levels are high in relation to EV noise output. A major reason for this is because they depend on auditory cues to discern traffic flow when making life-threatening decisions such as crossing complex intersections or walking through city streets. Considering traffic data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the aim of the proposed research is to improve the lives of vulnerable pedestrians by determining the effects of different vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) alert systems on signal-response times.

This study seeks to:

  1. identify and evaluate modes by which V2P systems can be effectively implemented for
    use in urban street crossing environments;
  2. determine the efficacy of V2P systems in relation
    to pedestrian reaction time; and
  3. obtain evidence to support the need for non-intrusive V2P
    alert systems as a safety precaution for vulnerable road users.


CATM Research Affiliate: Michael Roan (VTTI: Lead)