Seeing the way to school through a child’s eyes

Graduates of the HTL Krems are setting up a radar speed station checking speed and number of cars.

Eye-tracking project – Improving security on the way to school

What do children see when they are out and about on the streets? Or more importantly: What can’t they see? The research project “Augen auf! – Open your eyes!“ carefully examined the perception of the “weakest” road users and enables us to see with our own eyes and understand what they see.

Dangers on the way to school

The project “Open your eyes” makes aware of concerns on ways to school and offers cities and communities as well as families and schools help to improve road safety in school environment.

In the course of the project ways to schools were analysed, dangers were identified and the eye movement of children was simulated via mobile eye tracking and evaluated.

“Children cannot sufficiently verbalise and reflect experienced situations and dangers on their way to school. However, by instrumental monitoring of the eye movement we can make the world of a child’s eye visible for adults and thus gain new findings on the biggest dangers on the way to school”, explains Johanna Grüblbauer, head of projects at the St. Pölten UAS and deputy head of the Austrian Institute of Media Economics residing at the UAS.

Obstacles and missing footpaths

Results of the analysis of eye movements were for example that 90 percent of the children do not look back before walking around a car parked at the roadside and before entering the road. House gateways are particularly dangerous for children: no matter whether the gates are open or closed. Every second child is easily distracted for example when passing open gates and does not think about the possibility of cars crossing the footpaths.

Sensitizing adults

“To make ways to school safer adults and especially parents also have to be sensitized with regard to children’s perspectives and basic knowledge about perception and behaviour of children must be taught”, says Grüblbauer. Thereto, videos and publications which originated during the project are used. 

Project “Open your eyes! Seeing the world through a child’s eyes“

The project “Open your eyes! Seeing the world through a child’s eyes“ was supported by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology via the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG in the framework of the programme “Discovering talents: Young Academics - Regional Talents“.

Next to the St. Pölten UAS partners of the project were the Ziviltechnikbüro Retter & Partner as lead manager (Volker Alberts) as well as – the Austrian Society for Pedestrians (Dieter Schwab). The eye-tracking analysis were conducted by Johanna Grüblbauer and Georg Neubauer, a student of the Master programme Digital Media Technologies at the St. Pölten UAS.


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