Mar 19, 2021 News
At present, the phenomenon of "head-down people" on the road is widespread. A new study claims that this slows down the "head bowers" themselves and restricts the ability of others to move quickly and efficiently. Crowds usually organize themselves to drive safely and efficiently. But this efficiency is only possible if people can predict the actions of others.
To test how mobile phone users would disrupt this flow, scientists set up a straight corridor on a closed street and let two groups of 27 pedestrians walk opposite directions. They tracked each person's path, measured their walking speed, and calculated each group's order parameters, which measured the place and time of the straight line formation. The researchers also asked three participants in one group to type on their mobile phones while walking. They ran three different experimental conditions, with the distracted participants in the front, middle, or back of the walking group.
The video above shows the situation of those who were inattentive. The lanes behind and on the opposite side developed slowly and compared to the middle and rear positions, and they are several seconds later than when all pedestrians are vigilant.
As expected, it is difficult for mobile phone users to predict others' actions because they cannot see the people around them. But the researchers also found that alert pedestrians, especially those moving toward distracted pedestrians, had to turn sharply or walk out of the way to avoid collisions. The research results were published in the "Science Advances" magazine on Wednesday. Volunteers cannot predict distracted walkers' actions, even if they can concentrate on the road ahead.