The role of perceived pedestrian safety on designing safer built environments

Carlos Aceves-González, Karthikeyan Ekambaram, John Rey-Galindo, Libertad Rizo-Corona

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: This study aimed to explore how pedestrians´ safety perception concerning the built environmental characteristics can assist in designing a safer built environment in an urban area in Mexico. Methods: The study involved two stages of data collection. In the first stage, a physical audit on selected urban roads was performed to assess the characteristics that may increase the perceived risk of a collision. An observational framework to evaluate the crossing areas, sidewalks and organizational factors was developed and used for data collection. In the second stage, an on-street questionnaire was applied to collect the perception of a group of 299 pedestrians about safety risks, road characteristics and their ideas for designing a safer built environment. Results: The physical road audit identified several features in the crossing areas and sidewalks, such as parked cars, movable and fixed obstacles, and lack of traffic signage, which may increase the risk of a pedestrian being involved in a collision. More than half of the road users who were interviewed either agree (27%) or strongly agree (29%) with the statement that crossing the roads in the area was safe. However, pedestrians also identified the following elements as detrimental for the safe use of roads: lack of traffic lights, too much traffic, lack of signs, and parked cars that obstruct visibility. Participants also raised issues beyond the physical infrastructure; for instance, a lack of respect shown by drivers to pedestrians. For designing a safer built environment, participants suggested several ideas highlighting pedestrianization of the road and widening the sidewalks, along with restricting parking of cars on the road. Conclusions: This combination of findings provide valuable support for the premise that pedestrians may have a good sense of recognizing safety problems and the ability to see the solutions. Although the research was undertaken in the context of a municipality in Guadalajara, the role of pedestrian safety perception may be applicable in other urban settings in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where local authorities are in charge of designing the road environment. This study highlights the relevance of including pedestrians’ participation for a safer and human-centred design of our cities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S84-S89
    JournalTraffic Injury Prevention
    Issue numberS1
    Early online date14 Sep 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


    • Pedestrian perceived safety
    • human-centred design
    • pedestrian safety
    • safe built environment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety Research
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


    Dive into the research topics of 'The role of perceived pedestrian safety on designing safer built environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this