Penn team seeks to make streets safer by keeping an eye on cyclists’ eyes

Parking-protected bike lanes are considered among the safest designs for cyclists because they separate bikes from moving traffic. Still, Ryerson, a University of Pennsylvania professor of city and regional planning, wanted a more scientific way to quantify that feeling of safety.
“I know as a cycle commuter with my children on the back, I’m constantly thinking about safety and my safest route,” she said. “I don’t know how I’m measuring safety besides just how I feel.”
She decided to create a way to measure that feeling. Since October, Ryerson and her team of students have been using a pair of specialized glasses to determine what happens when cyclists and pedestrians travel city streets. The eyewear, which looks like heavily accessorized shop-class safety glasses, has cameras facing both outward and inward, at the wearers’ eyes. The glasses are not a new technology — they’re used to measure drivers’ responses in driving simulators — but Ryerson believes she is the first to use the cameras to study pedestrians and cyclists.