- Pedestrian road crashes cause death, injury and disability among children. Five to nine year old children endure ~four times the injury rate of adults, in spite of their lower exposure to traffic.
- Practical training can lead to improvements in children’s crossing skills, e.g., the ability to make roadside timing judgments (Demetre et al., 1992), plan safe routes (Thomson et al., 1992) and cross safely at junctions (Rothengatter, 1984).
A first step in developing a training program is to form understanding of children traffic behavior patterns, e.g., when and where do children cross? What are they looking out for before crossing? etc.
Comparing adults and children provides a depiction of what elements in the traffic environment are crucial for the road crossing task.
- In the present study, children and adults participate in a two-phase experiment. They observe typical urban scenarios from the point of view of pedestrians and are asked to:
- Describe the features that they perceive as relevant for crossing the road safely, i.e., the conceptual model each group has.
- Press a button or ‘step off a curb’ each time they think it is safe to cross.
- Eye movements are recorded using a helmet mounted tracker, as shown in the Trailer.
Demetre, J.D. & S. Gaffin, S. (1994). The salience of occluding vehicles to child pedestrians, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 64, 243–251.
Rothengatter, J.A. (1984). A behavioral approach to improving traffic behaviour of young children. Ergonomics 27 (1984), pp. 147–160.
Thomson, J.A., Tolmie, A., Foot, H.C. & McLaren, B. (1996). Child Development and the Aims of Road Safety Education. Road Safety Research Report No. 1. London: HMSO.