Exploring the Pedestrian’s Behaviors in Crossing the Street Based on Gender

Research Article

Austin J Emergency & Crit Care Med. 2015;2(1): 1011.

Exploring the Pedestrian’s Behaviors in Crossing the Street Based on Gender

Razzaghi A1 and Zolala F*2

1Guilan Road Trauma Research Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Iran

2Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Iran

*Corresponding author: Zolala F, Medical Informatics Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Haftbagh-Alavi Highway, Kerman

Received: December 01, 2014; Accepted: February 02, 2015 Published: February 04, 2015


Background: Pedestrians are at high risk of traffic accidents in urban areas. Difference in gender can influence pedestrians’ behavior in crossing the street. This research aims to explore the behavior of pedestrians crossing the street based on their gender, Kerman, Iran.

Materials and Methods: A total of 403 pedestrians were observed when crossing the street. The data were collected through a check list by a trained observer. Factors such as adherence to traffic lights, waiting before crossing, running across the road, and looking before crossing were examined. Statistical analyses of pedestrians’ behavior were carried out using the Chi-Square test. The analytical results were considered to have a significant level of 0.05.

Results: About half of the observed subjects 54.3% (n=219) crossed the street within the marked lines. These behavior were 52.1% (n=135) among male and 58.3% (n=84) among female. Approximately half of the observed pedestrians, 49.1% (n=198), were distracted in some way. Among them men were found to be more distracted than women (64.3%, vs. 35.7%, p=0.21 respectively). Men were observed to be more likely to run when crossing the street than women (27.1%, vs., 13.3%, p=0.001).

Conclusions: Female pedestrians behave more carefully than males. Therefore educating population sounds very necessary, with higher stress and enforced in men. Also, if it is the case, the results might be useful to policy makers to review the adequacy and efficiency of rules and regulation regarding pedestrian behaviors over crossing the road.

Keywords: Gender Role; Behavior; Accidents


Car accidents are a leading cause of death across the nations. Iran is a Middle Eastern country and very prone to disasters and accidents. Iranians have a very high rate of traffic accidents: based on estimates, about 30,000 Iranians die because of traffic accidents annually [1]. In 2010-2011, pedestrians had the highest rate of death in traffic accidents (28%) in Iran [2].

In developed countries, drivers are most at risk of traffic injuries. However in developing countries, a high percentage of traffic accidents involving pedestrians occur, with a death rate of 55-57% in urban pedestrians [3]. Most crashes occur when pedestrians are crossing the street [4]. Either their risky behaviors or their inattention to traffic rules are the main causes of the accidents [4]. Previous studies have addressed a number of behavioral factors in relation to the occurrence of accidents. These factors include ignorance of traffic lights, crossing the street on an unmarked roadway, uncertainty or delay in crossing the road, running while crossing the road and pedestrians’ inattentiveness [4-6]. Accidents due to inattentive behaviors of pedestrians are usually caused by multi-tasking while crossing the street, such as speaking on a cell phone, carrying loads, eating, speaking with others, and using headphones [5,7,8].

Gender is also a determinating factor in car accidents. Based on the literature, accidents involving men occur at a higher rate than women. This leads to higher figures of death and injuries among men. However it is worth mentioning that a small number of studies report higher risky behaviors among women in crossing the road [9].

Gender difference could expalin different behavours among male and females; females are more risk averse while males tend to take greater risks [10]. Men are also shown to violate traffic rules more often than women. For example, they are more likely not to pay attention to traffic lights or to avoid crossing the road at the designated places. In addition to this, a lower frequency of accidents among women might be due to the issue that traffic rules are more internalized in females than in males [11]. Social determinants and norms make a considerable contribution in shaping this difference among males and females [12].

It has been shown that women’s behavior in crossing roads can be influenced by the presence and behavior of other pedestrians. In male pedestrians, the volume of traffic and physical conditions are determining factors for crossing behavior [12]. Although gender difference is an important factor in explaining the pattern of accidents [13], exploring the pedestrians’ behavior based on gender difference has been given inadequate attention in developing countries.

For this reason, this study explores pedestrians’ behavior while crossing the street in Kerman, Iran.

Materials and Methods

This is a cross-sectional study which has been carried out in the city of Kerman, Iran, in 2013-2014. Kerman is located in the southeast of Iran, the largest province of Iran. We used a behavioral observational approach to explore the pedestrians’ behavior when crossing the street.

A total of 403 pedestrians were observed when crossing the street in marked crosswalks at signalized intersections. In this investigation, four main intersections were chosen.

In this study an observational checklist was used as a datagathering instrument. The checklist included factors which could affect a pedestrian’s safety such as adherence to traffic lights, rushing into the street with no hesitation, running across the road, and looking to the right and left before and during crossing. Moreover, distraction factors such as using a mobile phone, talking with other pedestrians, smoking, eating, drinking, carrying objects, and uncertainty were explored.

The data were collected by a trained observer. Prior to data collection, to examine the reliability of the method, a pilot study was carried out. At the pilot, two separate observers observed the behavior and filled out the checklist. A high level of consistency between these observers was found. Data were collected in the morning and afternoon in summer, and took 6 weeks.

Statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 16. Analyses of pedestrians’ behavior based on gender were carried out using the ?2 test. The analytical results were considered significant with a level of 0.05. The results are presented in two main groups: positive behaviors and negative behaviors.


A total of 403 pedestrians were observed. Over half of the subjects were men (64.3%, n=259). Findings when comparing the results between men and women are presented in Table 1.

Citation: Razzaghi A and Zolala F. Exploring the Pedestrian’s Behaviors in Crossing the Street Based on Gender. Austin J Emergency & Crit Care Med. 2015;2(1): 1011. ISSN:2380-0879