Wales

Pokemon Go-style road safety app developed by Welsh unis

The app Image copyright Virtual Road World

A Pokemon Go-style app to educate about road safety has been developed by south Wales universities.

Virtual Road World teaches children how to cross the road via a game.

Users have to complete a series of quests requiring them to cross roads as they find their way around a virtual city.

Preventable road accidents represent the second largest cause of death or disability for five to 14-year-olds, charity Road Safety Trust said.

The app was created by Cardiff University academic Catherine Purcell, who worked with the University of South Wales to test the app and consult children in Newport on the look and feel of the game.

It uses similar technology to Pokemon Go, a reality game where people catch animated creatures which appear like they are in the player's real-world location.

Dr Purcell said the app, targeted at seven to nine-year-olds, has been developed "not to replace but to support and enhance existing road safety educational practices".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Developer Catherine Purcell says the app is designed to enhance existing road safety education

She said: "Through our research we know that educating children through the use of illustrated books or kerb-side practices can be highly time and resource intensive.

"The more children get into the game, the more opportunity they have to understand the risks and make safer decisions about where and when to cross the road...

"This is another means for schools to engage children in road crossing in a fun and interactive way."

Sally Lines, from the charity Road Safety Trust, which is funding the app through a grant, said: "We believe it can make a difference to keeping children safer on the roads."

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