Using virtual reality simulation to address traffic accidents.

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Street Smart‘s goal is to decrease casualties among pedestrians and cyclists through an inventive virtual reality (VR) initiative.

Visitors at the Springfield Town Center in Fairfax County had the opportunity to test their driving skills in a Chevrolet Camaro. This mobile exhibit is a component of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (COG) Street Smart initiative, which aims to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Kelvin Ford from Street Smart highlights how their immersive VR experience effectively educates individuals of any age on traffic safety through interactive means. Users wear a VR headset and virtually navigate familiar streets, remaining vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists.

Many visitors who tried the simulation described it as entertaining, but also challenging. One participant described the experience as “insanely fun” and “not easy.” Another noted that there were more blind spots than expected. The simulation was also designed to raise awareness of looking left and right at intersections.

According to the COG, 115 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by vehicles in the Washington metropolitan area last year. Pedestrians and bicyclists account for more than 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the region.

The purpose of the Virtual Reality Challenge is to promote awareness among road users, urging them to prioritize one another’s safety and collaborate towards building secure streets.

Street Smart Campaign Background

The Street Smart campaign by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has been working since 2002 to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety and protect those at risk on the roads. This regional public safety initiative aims to educate road users about safe practices in the District of Columbia.

The campaign is comprised of various elements, such as radio and outdoor advertisements, media outreach, online media, and events. Its aim is to supplement the initiatives of state and local authorities in constructing more secure streets and sidewalks, enforcing regulations, and enhancing the awareness of road users.

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