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Walk or wait? An empirical analysis of street crossing decisions


  • Mark D. Manuszak

    (Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon University, USA)

  • Charles F. Manski

    (Department of Economics and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University at Evanston, USA)

  • Sanghamitra Das

    (Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute at Delhi, India)


We examine the behaviour of pedestrians wishing to cross a stream of traffic at signalized intersections. We model each pedestrian as making a discrete crossing choice by comparing the gaps between vehicles in traffic to an individual-specific 'critical gap' that characterizes the individual's minimal acceptable gap. We propose both parametric and nonparametric approaches to estimate the distribution of critical gaps in the population of pedestrians. To estimate the model, we gather field data on crossing decisions and vehicle flows at three intersections in New Delhi. The estimates provide information about heterogeneity in critical gaps across pedestrians and intersections, and permit simulation of the effect of changes in traffic light sequences on pedestrian crossing behaviour and waiting times. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark D. Manuszak & Charles F. Manski & Sanghamitra Das, 2005. "Walk or wait? An empirical analysis of street crossing decisions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 529-548.
  • Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:20:y:2005:i:4:p:529-548
    DOI: 10.1002/jae.791

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
    2. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
    3. Mahmassani, Hani & Sheffi, Yosef, 1981. "Using gap sequences to estimate gap acceptance functions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 143-148, June.
    4. Daganzo, Carlos F., 1981. "Estimation of gap acceptance parameters within and across the population from direct roadside observation," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-15, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Jianguo & Deng, Wen & Wang, Jinmei & Li, Qingfeng & Wang, Zhaoan, 2006. "Modeling pedestrians' road crossing behavior in traffic system micro-simulation in China," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 280-290, March.
    2. Avineri, Erel & Shinar, David & Susilo, Yusak O., 2011. "Pedestrians’ behaviour in cross walks: The effects of fear of falling and age," Working papers in Transport Economics 2011:18, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).

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