An Investigation of Peer Influences on Risky Child and Adolescent Pedestrian Road Crossing

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities involving children and adolescents are a significant public health concern in the U.S. In 2012 alone, there were 500 fatalities and 20,000 injuries in pedestrians between the ages of 5 and 20 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2014). One factor that may increase the risk of such collisions is peer influence. Although it is well known that having multiple peers in the car dramatically increases risky behavior among teen drivers, little is known about how child and adolescent pedestrians cross roads with peers, and whether joint road crossing with peers puts youth pedestrians at heightened risk for collisions with motor vehicles. This multi-disciplinary research project has two major components, both involving a large-screen, immersive pedestrian simulator. The behavioral component will examine social influences on road-crossing behavior by comparing how youth of different ages cross with a friend vs. alone, and how the experience of crossing with a friend influences children's later solo road-crossing behavior. This work will provide much-needed information about how children and adolescents interact with peers in performing common, yet potentially risky actions like road crossing. The computational component will use data gathered from the behavioral experiments to develop age- and gender-matched computer-generated avatars that will serve as crossing partners. Avatar behavior will mimic the behaviors observed with real partners, including conversation, gaze, and gestures. The project will then compare how youth cross roads with "risky" vs. "safe" computer-generated avatars to assess the validity of interactions with virtual avatars. The proposed project will significantly advance understanding of social risk factors for car-pedestrian collisions and inform the development of technology needed to gain a more fine-grained understanding of these dynamics.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Collaboration research project involving University of Iowa and University of Central Florida


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT 13-G-UTC53

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Central Florida, Orlando

    P.O. Box 25000
    Orlando, FL  United States  32816

    University of Iowa, Iowa City

    102 Church Street
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242

    Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)

    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242
  • Principal Investigators:

    Plumert, Jodie

    Kearney, Joseph

    Hancock, Peter

  • Start Date: 20150601
  • Expected Completion Date: 20161231
  • Actual Completion Date: 20161214
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39194

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556672
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT 13-G-UTC53
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2015 1:00AM