Extent of mobile phone use by pedestrians on controlled crossings in central Hobart, Tasmania
ACRS, DOI:10.33492/JACRS-D-18-00005, https://doi.org/10.33492/JACRS-D-18-00005
Submission Date: February 14, 2019 Journal
Suggested Citation: Pharo, E. (2019). Extent of mobile phone use by pedestrians on controlled crossings in central Hobart, Tasmania. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety, 30(1), 14-19. DOI:10.33492/JACRS-D-18-00005
Distracted walking is one way that pedestrians increase their risk of injury, but little is known about the extent of the problem. I quantified the extent of phone use by pedestrians over seven hours at each of the 10 signalised crossings in central Hobart. Of the 16,032 people counted, 12.4% of pedestrians were using phones: 4.6% were reading or typing on their phone, 2.3% were talking and another 5.5% were listening to headphones. The latter figure will be an underestimate because of the difficulty of seeing headphones obscured by hats and long hair. At the busiest sites at two ends of a pedestrian mall, there were as many as 155 and 158 people in a one hour period looking down at their phones to read or type. Fortunately these two roads had slow moving vehicle traffic, meaning consequences of crashes would likely be minor. However, four of the sites crossed wide, 50kph, arterial roads, so a combination of responses will be needed to lower crash risk, including education, enforcement and consideration of safe road speeds.