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Traffic safety -- Oregon -- Portland, Pedestrians -- Oregon -- Portland, Race discrimination


This project explores social identity factors (race and gender) that influence drivers’ behavior in interactions with pedestrians at crosswalks. One dangerous potential point of conflict for pedestrians within the transportation system is interactions with drivers at crosswalks (NHTSA, 2009). In 2010, there was one crash-related pedestrian death every two hours and an injury every eight minutes, and racial minorities are disproportionately represented in these pedestrian fatalities (CDC, 2013). In light of this disparity, this project examines whether racial discrimination occurs at crosswalks, which may lead to disparate crossing experiences and disproportionate safety outcomes. Racial minorities experience racial discrimination across various domains in society. Consistent with this societal pattern, it is hypothesized that drivers will exhibit racial bias when making decisions about whether or not to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the street at a crosswalk, which may reflect conscious or nonconscious biases. Our initial research on this topic revealed the predicted racial bias in drivers’ yielding behavior at crosswalks: Black male pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars as, and waited 32% longer than, White male pedestrians (Goddard, Kahn and Adkins, 2015). This study expands on these prior findings to examine the effect of additional pedestrian, driver, and crosswalk characteristics on drivers’ yielding behavior with pedestrians.


This is a final report, NITC-RR-869, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The Project Brief associated with this research can be found at:



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