A virtual reality experiment to study pedestrian perception of future street scenarios

The current allocation of street space is based on expected vehicular peak-hour flows. Flexible and adaptive use of this space can respond to changing needs. To evaluate the acceptability of flexible street layouts, several urban environments were designed and implemented in virtual reality. Participants explored these designs in immersive virtual reality in a mixed factorial experiment, in which we analysed self-reported, behavioural and physiological responses from participants…

Unconventional street layouts are less preferred, perceived as unsafe and cause a measurably greater stress response. Furthermore, information provision focusing on comparisons lead participants to focus primarily on the drawbacks, instead of the advantages of novel scenarios. When being able to freely express thoughts and opinions, participants are focused more on the impact of space design on behaviour rather than the objective physical features themselves.

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