The CrossPoints Project: Using Virtual Reality to Teach Pedestrian Safety to Children

An Evidence-Based Practice

This practice has been Archived and is no longer maintained.


The CrossPoints Project uses a Virtual Reality (VR) software program to teach pedestrian safety to children. Pedestrian injuries create substantial morbidity and mortality risks to children because they begin pedestrian activities before their skills and judgment are adequately developed. VR technology provides a unique opportunity to teach children pedestrian safety skills because it is administered in a safe, controlled environment, and allows for practice and repetition. Moreover, it is typically exciting and engaging to children.

Based on feedback from focus groups and literature reviews, researchers created a virtual city using a VR software program. The city contains eight intersections specifically designed to teach children about different aspects of pedestrian safety. During the program, children are taught to complete four behaviors at the intersections, including stopping at the curb, looking left, right, then left again, walking on the sidewalk instead of the street, and paying attention while crossing the street. Spoken directions remind the child to complete the four behaviors, and warnings flash across the screen and send the child back to the curb to retry the crossing if it was not completed correctly.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the CrossPoints Project is to use a Virtual Reality software program to teach pedestrian safety to children.

Results / Accomplishments

An evaluation of the CrossPoints Project was conducted and included 95 children in grades four through six from an urban and a suburban school, who participated in either an intervention or a control group.

Results of the study found that children in the intervention groups from both the urban and suburban schools significantly improved their street crossing behavior after completing the VR intervention (p<0.001). In addition, children in the intervention group from the suburban schools significantly improved their scores on actual street crossing observations (p<0.05), that were conducted to determine whether the VR intervention was effective in transferring knowledge to 'real world' behavior.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Joan McComas, Ph.D., P.T.
School of Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Ottawa
451 Smyth Rd.
Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 8M5, Canada
Public Safety / Transportation Safety
Education / Childcare & Early Childhood Education
Apriori Research
Date of publication
Ontario, Canada
Target Audience