Dr Catherine Purcell (Lecturer in Psychology) and Dr Mike Reddy (Senior Lecturer in Computing) have been awarded £67.5k from the Road Safety Trust for a ‘proof of concept’ virtual reality (VR) project to develop an innovative game-based road safety education app to be tested in Welsh primary schools.
Road traffic accidents represent the second largest cause of death in children aged 5-14 years worldwide, so the need to teach children how to safely cross the road is vital. The road crossing game will allow children to practice the skills involved in road crossing whilst remaining safely in the classroom, and will provide a cost effective alternative to unsustainable kerbside programmes.
Dr Purcell’s previous research has demonstrated that ‘egocentric’ software, such as first person games that directly simulate immersion in an artificial world, have a greater likelihood of upskilling children in road safety. The proposed approach has considerable potential for widespread use and, if successful, additional funding will be sought to develop it further, with a view to disseminating to schools across the UK.
The project started in May 2017 and will run for 18 months.