May 10, 2019 Joris van Gend

Francesco’s street-crossing-safety-slider presented during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

In traffic, humans communicate with all different kinds of signals, nods, winks and shouts what they are doing and what they want others to do. Annoying as that might sometimes be, it is also quite critical for other road users. How does one otherwise interpret if they have been seen by a driver or if an oncoming car will let them cross the road safely? Automated and self-driving vehicles, of course, miss the ability to communicate by default. Thus, new ways of creating clear and meaningful interactions between cars and humans need to be designed. At the forefront of these developments is our own Francesco Walker, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Twente’s BMS faculty. He worked with Debargha Dey, a Ph.D candidate at the Eindhoven University of Technology, on this project. Together with their colleagues, they developed the feeling-of-safety slider. This slider was presented during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in early May.

Francesco Walker (UTwente), Debargha Dey (TU Eindhoven), and their colleagues studied how humans interact with oncoming traffic when a street needed to be crossed. In their paper, referenced below, they described the inadequacies of options like buttons or toggles. These options allowed little or no immediate input as to how safe the participants felt crossing the street. As a result, Francesco and colleagues designed and built a slider (see images above and below) together with the BMS lab that allowed participants to instinctively grasp and input how safe they felt crossing the street was. As they worked with the BMS lab on developing the slider, they found that a slider is instinctively understood and clear. After all, the limits are constant and clear to both touch and vision and degrees of confidence can easily be indicated on an intuitive scale. Since then, they have successfully deployed the slider in their studies. The slider was presented together with their methodology and some initial findings during the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in early May.

Their paper can be found using the following reference:

Walker, F., Dey, D., Martens, M., Pfleging, B., Eggen, B., & Terken, J. (2019, April). Feeling-of-Safety Slider: Measuring Pedestrian Willingness to Cross Roads in Field Interactions with Vehicles. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (p. LBW0242). ACM