New app helps kids

get street-wise

Virtual Road World app

AN app using similar technology to Pokemon Go has been developed to help teach road safety to primary school children.

Pupils can learn road-crossing skills through the virtual reality game.

The Virtual Road World app has been developed by Cardiff University academic Dr Catherine Purcell, who received funding from the Road Safety Trust.

Preventable road traffic accidents represent the second largest cause of death or disability for children aged 5-14 years old.

On average, 37 children are seriously injured on UK roads every week and of those one of them will be killed.

Worldwide, preventable road traffic accidents represent the second largest cause of death or disability for children in that age group.

The app immerses users in a virtual environment where they need to complete a series of quests requiring them to cross roads as they find their way around a virtual city.

By playing the game children learn how to safely navigate roads, traffic and crossing points.

DrPurcell worked with students from the univerity's Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science to consult with 100 primary school aged children about the look and feel of the game, and collected in-game data from over 200 children aged between seven and nine from schools in Newport.

Dr Purcell said:"The app has been developed not to replace but to support and enhance existing road safety educational practices. Through our research we know that educating children through the use of illustrated books or kerb side practices can be highly time and resource intensive. We have utilised technology to upskill children in their understanding of road safety.

"The more children get into the game, the more opportunity they have to understand the risks and make safer decisions about where and when to cross the road. I hope that the app will now prove a fun and successful way of supporting road safety education for children of this age."

Dr Purcell was awarded a grant of £67,468 from the Road Safety Trust to research and produce the app.

Sally Lines, chief executive of the Road Safety Trust said:"Virtual Road World goes beyond 3D video and games for entertainment, offering a fun and accessible way to help children choose safe road crossing sites in the real world. We believe it can make a difference to keeping children safer on the roads."

To access the app, simply search for ‘Virtual Road World' on the Apple Store.

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