Preventing Struck-by Hazards: Defying Risk-desensitization via Virtual Accident Simulation

Repeated exposures to hazards in road construction work zones often generate worker habituation to the risks associated with the hazards, one of the main causal factors in workplace accidents. Understanding the developmental process of risk habituation and providing effective safety training is critical to preventing fatalities in road construction work zones. To effectively prevent/mitigate risk habituation, this project will develop a virtual reality (VR) training system that elicits workers’ biased risk perceptions and generates interventions by demonstrating potential consequences of their habituated behaviors. Specifically, the project will create adaptive safety learning environments that trigger VR-simulated accidents in response to trainees’ risk habituation; the development of risk habituation will be detected based on behavioral and physiological responses (i.e., eye tracking, vigilant behavior), and the accident simulation will involve visual, auditory, and haptic feedback. The impact of the proposed learning environments will be assessed through an experiment involving actual road construction crews demonstrating varying levels of risk habituation. This project will generate new knowledge regarding how a VR-enabled safety-training module can effectively interrupt workers’ habituated behaviors. Since a worker’s unsafe behaviors are rarely replicated and observed in a training setting, detecting workers’ risk habituation is a significant undertaking. The proposed research will generate a system to efficiently trigger a worker’s unsafe/habituated behaviors, sense the habituation (i.e., a decrease in vigilant behavior), and present accident simulations, thereby enabling a worker to experience the consequences of his/her habituated behaviors. This project will also assess individual differences in risk habituation. Consequently, the findings of this research will provide a theoretical foundation for personalized safety training that effectively prevents struck-by fatalities in road construction work zones.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $ 40000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
    3136 TAMU
    College Station, TX  United States  77843-3136
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ahn, Changbum Ryan

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757528
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 10 2020 7:48PM