Good study on drivers’ poor behavior toward black male pedestrians from Dr. Kimberly Kahn , Tara Goddard @GoddardTara @TRECpdx

On the Black Lives Matter themes in the world a new report from PSU’s TREC shows that, like Donald Trump, drivers are nasty to black men, too. Here’s the report–it’s free, but you will have to register with TREC, which you should do so that you can get their updates and serve as a reviewer for them.

Nice little field experiment done here. Here’s the summary from the abstract:

Specifically, this study investigates the roles of 1) pedestrian race, 2) pedestrian gender, 3) crosswalk design (unmarked intersection crosswalk vs. marked crosswalk), and 4) drivers’ identity characteristics (male vs. female, White vs. minority) on drivers’ yielding behavior with pedestrians. A controlled field experiment in which Black and White male and female pedestrians crossed the street at two different types of crosswalks (unmarked vs. marked) was conducted, while trained coders marked drivers’ yielding behavior. Results indicated that overall stopping rates were very low at the unmarked crosswalk, and few differences emerged based on pedestrian race and gender. When the crosswalk became marked, stopping rates greatly increased; however, treatment was less equitable. Drivers were less likely to stop for Black and male pedestrians, and when they did stop, they were more likely to stop closer to Black male and Black female pedestrians. These effects occurred regardless of drivers’ race and gender.

So basically, drivers are rude and trying to kill everybody relatively equally at unmarked crosswalks.

Well done, drivers. Jeez.

Marked crosswalks have, as we know, a positive effect on drivers’ yielding behavior, but drivers treated black male pedestrians with less care than everybody else in the experiment:

Ppms trec pdx edu media project files NITC 869 Racial Bias in Drivers Yielding Behavior 5YnmTku pdf

It’s hard to assign race based on visuals in studies, and yet people do it all the time in everyday life.

So yeah, this sucks. It’s a nice study; go read it. The follow up with focus groups, too. This is just a report on a small grant so the publications will have more detail. It would be nice to see this study scaled up through funding via NIH. The exercise of observing crosswalk behavior would be nice for a class exercise.