Walk or wait? An empirical analysis of street crossing decisions

Sanghamitra Das, Charles F. Manski, Mark D. Manuszak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-548
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Econometrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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