Community-based pedestrian safety training in virtual reality: A pragmatic trial

Key takeaway:

  • Mobile virtual reality training sessions in schools and community centers could be a tool for influencing children’s pedestrian behaviors, but more research is needed on effective training amounts.


  • There was a small but statistically significant decrease in children’s delay to enter traffic gaps, which researchers connected with faster decision-making following the training.
  • Children showed shorter attention to traffic and time to contact by oncoming vehicles after the training, which could be indicative of either taking greater risks or greater confidence/efficiency in pedestrian situations.
  • There were no significant changes in rate of simulated unsafe crossings following the training. Researchers suggested that the children may have reacted differently in the game-like virtual environment than they would in street conditions, but also suggested more research on training effectiveness and amount of training needed.


  • This study conducted a pre-post test of pedestrian safety skills for 44 seven-and eight-year-olds Birmingham, Alabama. Children completed six 15-minute virtual pedestrian safety training sessions at their school or community center. Performance measures included attention to traffic, delay in entering safe gaps, time to contact with traffic while crossing, and unsafe simulated crossings.

Schwebel, D. C., Combs, T., Rodriguez, D., Severson, J., & Sisiopiku, V. (2016). Community-based pedestrian safety training in virtual reality : A pragmatic trial. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 86, 9–15.

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