Publication Abstract

Efficacy of Virtual Reality in Pedestrian Safety Research

Deb, S., Carruth, D. W., Sween, R., Strawderman, L., & Garrison, T. M. (2017). Efficacy of Virtual Reality in Pedestrian Safety Research. Applied Ergonomics. Elsevier. 65, 449-460. DOI:10.1016/j.apergo.2017.03.007.


Advances in virtual reality technology present new opportunities for human factors research in areas that are dangerous, difficult, or expensive to study in the real world. The authors developed a new pedestrian simulator using the HTC Vive head mounted display and Unity software. Pedestrian head position and orientation were tracked as participants attempted to safely cross a virtual signalized intersection (5.5 m). In 10% of 60 trials, a vehicle violated the traffic signal and in 10.84% of these trials, a collision between the vehicle and the pedestrian was observed. Approximately 11% of the participants experienced simulator sickness and withdrew from the study. Objective measures, including the average walking speed, indicate that participant behavior in VR matches published real world norms. Subjective responses indicate that the virtual environment was realistic and engaging. Overall, the study results confirm the effectiveness of the new virtual reality technology for research on full motion tasks.