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Journal of Advanced Transportation
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5202150, 12 pages
Research Article

Surrogate Safety Analysis of Pedestrian-Vehicle Conflict at Intersections Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Videos

1School of Transportation Science and Engineering, Beijing Key Laboratory for Cooperative Vehicle Infrastructure System and Safety Control, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
2Jiangsu Province Collaborative Innovation Center of Modern Urban Traffic Technologies, Sipailou No. 2, Nanjing 210096, China
3Institution of Materials and Systems for Sustainability, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8603, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Weiliang Zeng

Received 22 March 2017; Accepted 24 April 2017; Published 18 May 2017

Academic Editor: Zhi-Chun Li

Copyright © 2017 Peng Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Conflict analysis using surrogate safety measures (SSMs) has become an efficient approach to investigate safety issues. The state-of-the-art studies largely resort to video images taken from high buildings. However, it suffers from heavy labor work, high cost of maintenance, and even security restrictions. Data collection and processing remains a common challenge to traffic conflict analysis. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), known for easy maneuvering, outstanding flexibility, and low costs, are considered to be a novel aerial sensor. By taking full advantage of the bird’s eye view offered by UAV, this study, as a pioneer work, applied UAV videos for surrogate safety analysis of pedestrian-vehicle conflicts at one urban intersection in Beijing, China. Aerial video sequences for a period of one hour were analyzed. The detection and tracking systems for vehicle and pedestrian trajectory data extraction were developed, respectively. Two SSMs, that is, Postencroachment Time (PET) and Relative Time to Collision (RTTC), were employed to represent how spatially and temporally close the pedestrian-vehicle conflict is to a collision. The results of analysis showed a high exposure of pedestrians to traffic conflict both inside and outside the crosswalk and relatively risking behavior of right-turn vehicles around the corner. The findings demonstrate that UAV can support intersection safety analysis in an accurate and cost-effective way.