Background About 30 per cent of all road traffic incidence deaths in Tanzania involve pedestrians. Previous studies show that pedestrian bridges might not necessarily result in high bridge use, even when pedestrians must cross 3–4 lanes with heavy traffic. This paper explores the perceptions of pedestrians when crossing urban roads through using or not using pedestrian bridges.
Methods Nineteen semi-structured interviews were purposively conducted around six pedestrian bridges within Dar es Salaam. All interviews were conducted in Swahili, recorded using digital devices, transcribed verbatim then translated into English. To know the perceptions of pedestrians with respect to their experiences of using or not using the bridges, content analysis was employed with the help of a qualitative data analysis software (MAXQDA).
Results Three key themes were identified, relating to planning and decision making, alternative activities carried out around pedestrian bridges, and behavioural intentions and perceptions of pedestrians when accessing the bridges. Results also suggest that, participants are aware that the aim of the bridges are to prevent road traffic injuries. Conversely, participants were sceptical about inappropriate behavioural use of the bridges when linked to planning decisions and norms.
Conclusion The findings support the idea that already vulnerable road users such as pregnant women, older people and physically challenged pedestrians are exposed to higher risks of being injured since they cannot use the bridges when crossing roads.
Learning Outcomes Involvement of users is crucial when constructing pedestrian bridges in order to increase awareness on appropriate behavioural use when crossing roads with bridges.
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