Distracted driving and pedestrians pose one of the most difficult challenges to ensuring a safe and efficient transportation system. Modern communications have delivered greater convenience. However, this has come at the cost of attention spans. Safety has been thoroughly explored in terms of distracted driving and pedestrians. However, impacts on traffic operations have received minimal research attention. Few studies provided a theoretical mechanism on how intersection operations can be affected but failed to quantify the real-life impacts on traffic operations. Furthermore, new Florida laws prohibit cellphone usage while driving but is allowed when the vehicle is stationary, which may result in increased cellphone use at red lights. This research aims to quantify how distracted driving and pedestrians impact vehicle headways at signalized intersections. Thousands of observations were collected from eighteen (18) approaches at ten (10) intersections in Orange County, Florida, covering a variety of land uses, intersection configurations, and periods of high demand. The results demonstrated that the percentage of distracted drivers in the through and left movement was approximately 50% and 87%, respectively. Drivers were more distracted in commercial zones and more attentive to the signal changes than in school and residential areas. Cell phone usage for through and left movements had a significant percentage of distraction types, 31% and 28%. The statistical model showed that distracted drivers had nearly double the base headway compared to undistracted drivers' base headway. Drivers are more alert in the AM peak and less likely to be distracted by their phones than in the PM peak. The results also revealed that the first vehicle position in the queue had a detrimental effect on the headway and the overall intersection capacity. The pedestrians' analysis showed that around half the pedestrians were distracted. Pedestrians are less distracted in school and college land use than other land-use types. Distracted pedestrians did not cause a significant negative impact on the traffic operations, but they increased the crossing time by approximately 4%.


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Graduation Date





Abou-Senna, Hatem


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering; Transportation System Engineering




CFE0008976; DP0026309





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)