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A new virtual reality app designed to teach primary school children about road safety is being developed by The University of South Wales. The app will teach children to be more observant, cross the road safely and have a greater understanding of road safety rules.

This development follows research conducted by Dr Catherine Purcell, an expert in psychology at USW and Dr Mike Reddy, a games design specialist. The University has received £67,500 worth of funding from the Road Safety Trust to develop the app in a bid to improve child road safety. It arrives just after the recently developed DriveVR app, launched in March this year. The DriveVR app places consumers aged 16-24 in the driving seat of a car to teach participants driving safety rules and important lessons on dangerous driving.

Teaching children through digital platforms is an extremely effective way of interacting with children. The app will be used on a hand-held computer and will feature a variety of different virtual settings whereby road safety scenarios will occur. Children will then earn points for crossing the road safely at designated crossings to encourage and reward good road safety awareness.

The app will also penalise children for crossing the road dangerously, removing any points they have earned previously during the game. Introducing these clever features to the game will educate children in their early years about road safety rules as well as increasing awareness of the dangers of crossing the road dangerously.

The first prototype version of this cutting-edge app is expected to go live in January 2018. Dr Percell and Dr Reddy will look into acquiring extra funding if the game is well-received and hope to introduce it in schools up and down the UK for early road safety development.