text-only page produced automatically by Usablenet Assistive Skip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
Search Awards
Recent Awards
Presidential and Honorary Awards
About Awards
Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Conditions
Cooperative Agreement Conditions
Special Conditions
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Policy Office Website

Award Abstract #1305131

II-EN: Shared Virtual Environments for Studying Social Influences on Risky Cycling and Pedestrian Behavior

Division Of Computer and Network Systems
divider line
Initial Amendment Date: November 13, 2013
divider line
Latest Amendment Date: April 13, 2015
divider line
Award Number: 1305131
divider line
Award Instrument: Standard Grant
divider line
Program Manager: Harriet G. Taylor
CNS Division Of Computer and Network Systems
CSE Direct For Computer & Info Scie & Enginr
divider line
Start Date: November 1, 2013
divider line
End Date: October 31, 2016 (Estimated)
divider line
Awarded Amount to Date: $372,337.00
divider line
Investigator(s): Joseph Kearney joe-kearney@uiowa.edu (Principal Investigator)
James Cremer (Co-Principal Investigator)
Molly Nikolas (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jodie Plumert (Co-Principal Investigator)
Geb Thomas (Co-Principal Investigator)
divider line
Sponsor: University of Iowa
IOWA CITY, IA 52242-1320 (319)335-2123
divider line
divider line
Program Reference Code(s): 7359, 9150, 9251
divider line
Program Element Code(s): 7359, 1714


This project will create a simulation facility that will advance a capability to study the social interactions of two children, or a child and parent, as the two people walk or bicycle across a traffic-filled roadway. The project will expand existing infrastructure at the University of Iowa to build a new simulator that matches a recently installed simulator at the same institution, which will permit each of two experimental participants to inhabit their own separate simulated environment. The two simulators will be connected by a high-speed network and programmed to share a single, virtual environment that can be configured for either bicycling or walking. Experimental participants will control their motion by actually walking or cycling across these virtual intersections, surrounded by graphically rendered images that show a real-time, first-person view of their motion through the environment. A full-body motion tracking system will be used to create high-fidelity avatars that represent participant motions to provide a realistic experience of walking or riding with a friend or parent.

Intellectual Merit

On the computational side, this research will advance the technology for immersive, interactive virtual environments by developing methods to represent full-body movements in avatars moving through large-scale environments, and by studying how the fidelity of avatar movements influences rider and pedestrian interactions. On the behavioral side, this research will advance an understanding of social influences on risk taking by studying how children interact with friends or parents in the context of crossing roads, an everyday and yet risky activity. The reciprocal relations between the computational and behavioral components of this project will motivate creative solutions to the computational challenges that arise in creating realistic avatars and semi-autonomous agents and will enable new discoveries about the psychological processes underlying risky road-crossing behavior within the context of a virtual environment.

Broader Impact

This research will help to address public health problems by contributing to an understanding of the risk factors for car-bicycle and car-pedestrian collisions. The project will create a foundation for future intervention studies that will help to reduce such collisions. Advances in simulation technology, experimental methodology, and methods to create life-like avatars will contribute to the development of virtual environments for use in behavioral research and simulation-based training. The results of this work will be disseminated to the public through scientific publications and presentations, along with community-based activities such as open house events and bicycling/pedestrian safety lectures for the public.


Note:  When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Chihak, B. J., Grechkin, T. Y., Kearney, J. K., Cremer, J. F., & Plumert, J. M.. "How children and adults learn to intercept moving gaps?," Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, v.122, 2014, p. 143. 

Grechkin, T., Plumert, J. M., & Kearney, J. K.. "Dynamic affordances in embodied interactive systems: The role of display and mode of locomotion," Dynamic affordances in embodied interactive systems: The role of display and mode of locomotion, v.20, 2014, p. 596. 

Plumert, J. M., & Kearney, J. K.. "How do children perceive and act on dynamic affordances in crossing traffic-filled roads?," Child Development Perspectives, 2014. 

Plumert, J. P., & Kearney, J. K.. "Linking decisions and actions in dynamic environments: How child and adult cyclists cross roads with traffic," Ecological Psychology, v.26, 2014, p. 125. 

Plumert, J.M. & Kearney, J.K.. "How do children perceive and act on dynamic affordances in crossing traffic-filled roads," Child Development Perspectives, v.8, 2014, p. 207. 


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



Print this page
Back to Top of page
Research.gov  |  USA.gov  |  National Science Board  |  Recovery Act  |  Budget and Performance  |  Annual Financial Report
Web Policies and Important Links  |  Privacy  |  FOIA  |  NO FEAR Act  |  Inspector General  |  Webmaster Contact  |  Site Map
National Science Foundation Logo
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
  Text Only Version