#341 Safe by Design: Collecting Traveler Centric Data to Inform Safe Street Design

Principal Investigator
Megan Ryerson
Start Date
Jan. 1, 2020
End Date
June 30, 2023
Project Type
Research Applied
Grant Program
FAST Act - Mobility National (2016 - 2022)
Grant Cycle
Mobility21 - University of Pennsylvania


Studying Visual Experience to Inform Infrastructure Design
Streets are designed for vehicle efficiency. Engineers reference vehicle-based codes, use detailed models to optimize vehicle flow, and conduct evaluations with driving simulators before implementing design. A constraint, rather than
a design variable, is pedestrian and cyclist safety, as roadway designers currently lack the ability to quantify and test safety prior to construction. Collecting this missing data is at best challenging and expensive, and at worst, unsafe.
Professor Megan Ryerson fills this gap by using eye tracking technology to collect and study the user-based data and perspective towards transforming how roadway designers understand, measure, and implement safety interventions.    
Purpose: This study serves to complement the Safe Mobility studies conducted on Philadelphia Streets with the capacity to test the impact of design features, such as road striping, paint, and signage. Paired testings allow the research team to identify the impact or value of specific interventions, controlling for other variables.
Design: Variables will include (1) design features such as pavement paint, including specifications such as the color, texture, and style of striping, and (2) physical elements such as bollards and signage.

Purpose: Scooter share programs are gaining traction as a new component of the modern, urban transportation system. Their interaction with existing modes has yet to be fully studied; towards this end, Bird, a leader in dockless scooter share, is interested in capturing the experience of using scooters and sharing facilities with other modes.
Design: Bird will provide scooters to the Center for Safe Mobility for use on a closed circuit. Participants will recreate a typical street experience (e.g. a cyclist, pedestrian, and scooter user may each be equipped with eye tracking glasses to understand the negotiation between modes).
Fall: Collect data from cyclists in and around Philadelphia, code raw data
Fall: Publish perspective piece in Issues in Transportation 
Winter: Code! Develop safety variables, test correlations, etc. 
Spring: Collect more data to expand analysis
Summer: Publish Results 
Strategic Description / RD&T

Deployment Plan
Work hand in hand with SEPTA and PennDOT to ensure that the new methods of safety analysis are integrated into planning documents. 

Work with AASHTO and NACTO on this as well (through SEPTA deployment partner relationships). 
Expected Outcomes/Impacts
My work will develop brand new methods to estimate safety and visibility.  
Expected Outputs



Individuals Involved

Email Name Affiliation Role Position
mryerson@upenn.edu Ryerson, Megan University of Pennsylvania PI Faculty - Tenured


Amount of UTC Funds Awarded
Total Project Budget (from all funding sources)


Type Name Uploaded
Publication New Rules for Old Roads April 14, 2021, 8:44 a.m.
Progress Report 341_Progress_Report_2021-03-31 April 14, 2021, 8:44 a.m.
Publication Evaluating cyclist biometrics to develop urban transportation safety metrics Oct. 24, 2021, 8:29 p.m.
Publication Edge conditions and crash-avoidance roles: the future of traffic safety in the world of autonomous vehicles April 6, 2022, 4:41 a.m.
Publication An epidemiological diffusion framework for vehicular messaging in general transportation networks April 6, 2022, 4:42 a.m.
Publication Safety at the edge: a safety framework to identify edge conditions in the future transportation system with highly automated vehicles April 6, 2022, 4:43 a.m.
Progress Report 341_Progress_Report_2022-09-30 Oct. 7, 2022, 7:56 a.m.
Final Report Final_Report_-_341.pdf Sept. 15, 2023, 10:59 a.m.

Match Sources

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Name Type
SEPTA Deployment Partner Deployment Partner
PennDOT Deployment Partner Deployment Partner