LL#2 – Saxony, Germany
VRUs safety applications for generation Z
LL#2 in a nutshell
SOTERIA’s Living Lab #2 will take place in Saxony, Germany aiming to make children aware of accident risks within their everyday mobility. LL#2 is expected to recruit children at the age group of 12-16 years, to test SOTERIA’s services for safe urban mobility, participating in the Fraunhofer IVI Accident Prevention School (FAPS). In May 2023, in parallel with the rest of SOTERIA’s Living Labs, a series of workshops and surveys will be launched across the identified stakeholders in Saxony in order to raise awareness of the LL#2 within the local community.
Motivation | Children’s traffic education as a priority
Almost all aspects of road safety can be traced back to human behavior within road traffic. This behavior is continuously shaped through all stages of life and can be influenced in a variety of ways. One approach is to inform road users about the risks and causes of road accidents, as well as to hint on inappropriate behavior. In most countries, there are various mechanisms and measures for training specific age groups. However, rarely these programs address the age group between 12 to 16 years, leaving a gap in the continuous traffic education of young people, even though it is precisely at this life stage that young people's mobility behavior changes significantly. Adolescents are increasingly moving and more independently, especially by bicycle or public transportation, and for longer periods of time in traffic. As a result, the risk of traffic accidents increases especially in this age group. Therefore, there is a particular need to raise awareness about traffic accidents and their causes among young people of this age.
Long-standing experience in children’s road safety training
The Fraunhofer IVI Accident Prevention School (FAPS) is a project to improve road safety for exactly this age group and thereby closes the gap in traffic education. FAPS focuses primarily on the increased risk of accidents caused by missing knowledge of accident-specific relationships. The solution seems simple: students must be confronted with real accident scenarios in their immediate environment to increase their personal awareness and concern and thereby their interest in road safety.
FAPS uses police-recorded and in-depth accident data and, based on the geographical location of the participating school, extracts and enriches relevant data for children to work with. The goals are the prevention of accidents through anticipatory behavior, the reduction of the severity of accidents and an improved ability to act in case of a self-experienced critical situation in road traffic. The students' awareness of their role as weaker road users is strengthened. They learn that there is a risk of accidents even if they themselves behave correctly and that the misbehavior of other road users must be considered.
During the current prevention school, students’ interest and awareness is firstly raised by estimating the number of accidents in their immediate school environment and how much of these are situated along their own way to school. Experience shows that students underestimate the actual number of accidents by a factor of about 25 - 100. The children gather a deeper understanding of accident situations and causes by directly working with police-recorded accident data. They learn about the typical accident characteristics of pedestrian and bicycle accidents (accident causes, accident causers, accident severities etc.) as wells as frequent accident causes and situations at accident hotspots in their school environment. Finally, students get an opportunity to understand the influence of perspective and sight obstructions within frequently occurring accident situations. For this, they can switch into the perspective of different accident participants in a virtual reality surrounding using head-mounted displays.
The Saxony Living Lab as an extension
As extension to the existing prevention school, children should not only be made aware of accident risks on their way to school but during their everyday mobility as well. This shall support them in the development of a safe, independent and active mobility. For this, within SOTERIA an app and an online solution shall be created which determines safe routes by mode of transport. Children partaking at the existing form of FAPS subsequently get the opportunity to additionally test this app or online version. They will not only help to ensure a later user-friendliness of the solution but will give feedback on its impact to influence users in their route decision making towards more safer routes. Being linked to the existing FAPS, the Federal State of Saxony and possibly the City of Munich will function as a living lab region.
SOTERIA’s Living Lab #2 is organised by Fraunhofer-IVI and supported by Dekra Digital.