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Using Virtual Reality to Train Children in Pedestrian Safety

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
David Schwebel, University of Alabama at Birmingham Identifier:
First received: February 24, 2009
Last updated: October 28, 2013
Last verified: October 2013

February 24, 2009
October 28, 2013
October 2009
May 2012   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Street-crossing Ability [ Time Frame: post-training and again 6 months later ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
average count of hits/close calls per participant in virtual environment, out of 30 crossings
street-crossing ability [ Time Frame: post-training and again 6 months later ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00850759 on Archive Site
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Using Virtual Reality to Train Children in Pedestrian Safety
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.

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Phase 3
Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
  • Street-crossing Ability
  • Pedestrian Safety
  • Device: virtual pedestrian environment
    a computer-driven virtual pedestrian environment
  • Device: computer and video
    various computer-based and video-based programs such as Otto the Auto and WalkSafe
  • Behavioral: streetside training
    one-on-one training by an adult with the child at streetside locations, to teach children street-crossing skills
  • Experimental: virtual reality
    street-crossing training in a virtual pedestrian environment
    Intervention: Device: virtual pedestrian environment
  • Active Comparator: computer and video
    exposure to training in pedestrian safety via computer software, internet games, and television videos
    Intervention: Device: computer and video
  • Active Comparator: streetside training
    one-on-one training in street-crossing skills by an adult, at a streetside location
    Intervention: Behavioral: streetside training
  • No Intervention: no-contact control
    no-contact control group.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Active, not recruiting
August 2014
May 2012   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 7 and 8 year old children living in Birmingham, Alabama, area

Exclusion Criteria:

  • family plans to move within 6 months of recruitment
  • visual or perceptual impairment (e.g., blindness) that are uncorrected and would prevent valid participation in protocol
  • physical impairment (e.g., use of wheelchair) that would prevent valid participation in protocol
  • cognitive impairment (e.g., moderate mental retardation) that would prevent valid participation in protocol
7 Years to 8 Years
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
F080715010, R01HD058573-01A1
David Schwebel, University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator: David C Schwebel, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Alabama at Birmingham
October 2013

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP