Teaching children road safety using a simulated environment

Catherine Purcell


The importance of road safety education is widely acknowledged; however, there is a lack of consistency in road safety interventions currently being used in UK schools. Furthermore, the majority of road safety educational programmes use knowledge-based methods, which do not necessarily translate to improved behaviour in real traffic environments. The use of virtual reality is starting to emerge as a viable option, as it allows for repeated risk-free practice. This study aimed to test the efficacy and playability of a virtual reality road crossing iPad-based game with children aged 7-9 years. A total of 137 children from primary school years 3 and 4 completed the study. The game comprised ten levels increasing in complexity. Participants navigated to a target using a magic portal into the virtual world (the iPad position matching the direction of travel). Remote, anonymous in-game data were collected and the results suggested that performance was significantly better on their final attempt compared to their first attempt, regardless of age of gender. Overall, the results suggest that the iPad-based game allowed the children to practice road crossing in an immersive environment, without risk, and could provide a useful, evidence-based addition to current road safety education in UK schools.


Road safety education; virtual reality; primary education; tablet technology; gaming; mixed methods psychological research

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22555/joeed.v7i1.2948


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License