Using Virtual Reality to Train Children in Pedestrian Safety
Pedestrian injuries are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in American children ages 7-8, but existing behavior-oriented interventions achieve only modest success. One limitation to existing interventions is that they fail to provide children with the repeated practice needed to develop the complex perceptual and cognitive skills required for safe pedestrian activity.
Virtual reality (VR) offers a highly promising technique to train children in pedestrian safety skills. VR permits repeated unsupervised practice without risk of injury; automated feedback to children on success or failure in crossings; adjustment of traffic density and speed to match children's skill level; and an appealing and fun environment for training. The proposed research is designed to test the efficacy of virtual reality as a tool to train child pedestrians in safe street-crossing behavior.
A randomized controlled trial will be conducted with four equal-sized groups of children ages 7-8 (total N = 240). One group will receive training in an interactive and immersive virtual pedestrian environment. The virtual environment, already developed, has been demonstrated to have face, construct, and convergent validity. The second group will receive pedestrian safety training via video and computer strategies that are most widely used in American schools today. The third group will receive what is judged to be the most efficacious treatment currently available, individualized behavioral training at streetside locations. The fourth and final group will serve as a no-contact control group. All participants in all groups will be exposed to a range of field- and laboratory-based measures of pedestrian skill during baseline and post-intervention visits, as well as during a six-month follow-up assessment. Primary analyses will be conducted through linear mixed models designed to test change over time in the four intervention groups. We hypothesize all children in active learning groups will increase pedestrian safety skills, but the largest increase will be among children in the virtual reality group.
|Street-crossing Ability Pedestrian Safety||Device: virtual pedestrian environment Device: computer and video Behavioral: streetside training||Phase 3|
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
|Official Title:||Using Virtual Reality to Train Children in Pedestrian Safety|
- Street-crossing Ability [ Time Frame: post-training and again 6 months later ]average count of hits/close calls per participant in virtual environment, out of 30 crossings
|Study Start Date:||October 2009|
|Study Completion Date:||March 2014|
|Primary Completion Date:||May 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Experimental: virtual reality
street-crossing training in a virtual pedestrian environment
Device: virtual pedestrian environment
a computer-driven virtual pedestrian environment
Active Comparator: computer and video
exposure to training in pedestrian safety via computer software, internet games, and television videos
Device: computer and video
various computer-based and video-based programs such as Otto the Auto and WalkSafe
Active Comparator: streetside training
one-on-one training in street-crossing skills by an adult, at a streetside location
Behavioral: streetside training
one-on-one training by an adult with the child at streetside locations, to teach children street-crossing skills
No Intervention: no-contact control
no-contact control group.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00850759
|United States, Alabama|
|UAB Youth Safety Lab, University of Alabama at Birmingham|
|Birmingham, Alabama, United States, 35294|
|Principal Investigator:||David C Schwebel, PhD||University of Alabama at Birmingham|