Someone to Watch Over You: Using Bluetooth Beacons for Alerting Distracted Pedestrians

Academic Article


  • In the United States, an estimated 7005 (crude rate 2.13) pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2020, according to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC). This statistic is currently increasing annually and research suggests that distraction by smartphones may be a primary reason for the increasing number of pedestrian injuries and deaths. Timely interruptions may alert inattentive pedestrians and prevent fatalities. To this end, we developed StreetBit, a Bluetooth beacon-based system that warns distracted pedestrians with a visual and/or audible interruption when they approach a potentially dangerous traffic intersection while distracted by their smartphones. We posit that by using StreetBit, we can educate distracted pedestrians and elicit behavioral change to reduce or remove smartphone-based distractions when they enter and cross roadways. To demonstrate the feasibility of StreetBit, we conducted a field study with 385 participants. The results show that the system demonstrates adequate feasibility and behavior change in response to the StreetBit program.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hasan R; Hoque MA; Karim Y; Griffin R; Schwebel DC; Hasan R
  • Start Page

  • 23017
  • End Page

  • 23030
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 22