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Modeling the role of fear of crime in pedestrian navigation

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
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Research studies in criminology and environmental psychology show that fear of crime can be generated in pedestrians by features of the urban environment such as narrow routes, hidden spaces, dumpsters and litter, and by threatening individuals; this fear may cause pedestrians to choose an alternate route to avoid these features. Criminologists and urban planners have devised a strategy called \Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)" which reduces fear of crime and crime itself through careful environmental design. A quantitative model of the role that fear of crime plays in pedestrian navigation has been developed based on these ndings from criminology research. In the course of validating the model, we constructed a virtual environment (VE) that resembles a well-known fear-generating area where several decision points were set up. Each decision point tested the reaction of pedestrians to environmental features thought to generate fear of crime. A total of 60 human subjects were invited to navigate the VE and their choice of routes and comments during the post experimental interviews were analyzed using statistical techniques and content analysis. From our experimental results, we not only validated our pedestrian model but also discovered new pedestrian behaviour in making a choice of routes. From this research, we propose a new enhanced model of the role of fear in pedestrian navigation. This research also shows that virtual environments can be a useful tool in criminology research.
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