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Stepping into safety: A systematic review of extended reality technology applications in enhancing vulnerable road user safety

Makkanai Sudhakaran, Gargy; Prabhakaran, Abhinesh; Booth, Colin; Abbey, Samuel; Mahamadu, Abdul-Majeed; Georgakis, Panagiotis; Pohle, Maria

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Gargy Makkanai Sudhakaran

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Colin Booth
Professor of Smart and Sustainable Infrastructures

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Samuel Abbey
Associate Director - Engineering Practice and Management/Associate Professor

Abdul-Majeed Mahamadu

Panagiotis Georgakis

Maria Pohle


In alignment with the European Union’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate road fatalities by 2050, leveraging technological advancements becomes crucial for addressing the challenges of vulnerable road users (VRUs), and for mitigating the impact of human error. Despite increasing scholarly interest in applications of extended reality (XR), a research gap persists, particularly in the role of XR in transportation safety. Therefore, the aim of the study was to fill this gap through a systematic literature review to evaluate
comprehensively the potential scope and practical applicability of XR technologies in enhancing the safety of VRUs.
Design/methodology/approach –
A systematic review was undertaken, following PRISMA guidelines
meticulously, in which 80 relevant articles from databases, such as Scopus and Science Direct, were identified and analysed.
Findings –
The results of the analysis revealed the potential of XR beyond pedestrians and cyclists, and highlighted a lack of research about the impact of XR with regard to the personal traits or abilities of VRUs.
The results of a thorough analysis confirmed the potential of XR as a promising solution for an approach to collaborative co-creation in addressing the safety challenges of VRUs. In addition, the integration of eye tracking with virtual reality emerged as a promising innovation for enhancing the safety of vulnerable road users.
Research limitations/implications –
Theoretical implications include enhancing the understanding of
applications of XR in VRUs’ safety and providing insights into future research possibilities and methodological approaches. Valuable insights into search strategies and inclusion-exclusion criteria can
guide future research methodologies.
Practical implications –
Practically, the findings from the study offer insights to assist urban planners and transportation authorities in incorporating XR technologies effectively for VRUs safety. Identifying areas for further development of XR technology could inspire innovation and investment in solutions designed to meet the safety needs of VRUs, such as enhanced visualisation tools and immersive training simulations.
Originality/value –
The findings of previous research underscore the vast potential of XR technologies within the built environment, yet their utilisation remains limited in the urban transport sector. The intricacies
of urban traffic scenarios pose significant challenges for VRUs, making participation in mobility studies hazardous. Hence, it is crucial to explore the scope of emerging technologies in addressing VRUs issues as a pre-requisite for establishing comprehensive safety measures.


Makkanai Sudhakaran, G., Prabhakaran, A., Booth, C., Abbey, S., Mahamadu, A., Georgakis, P., & Pohle, M. (in press). Stepping into safety: A systematic review of extended reality technology applications in enhancing vulnerable road user safety. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2024
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 5, 2024
Journal Smart and Sustainable Built Environment
Electronic ISSN 2046-6102
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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