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Bike to the Future – using VR to analyse perceptions of safety

The project focuses on how virtual reality can be used to measure cyclists’ perceptions of safety in major cities.

With virtual reality (VR), it is possible to research, from various perspectives, how road users perceive scheduled infrastructure changes, and how they behave in response. While designing roads, for example, VR can be used to investigate the perceptions and traffic behaviour of drivers and cyclists as well as pedestrians.

This is a project conducted by the Future Cities Laboratory within the Singapore ETH Centre. The FHNW School of Applied Psychology is supporting the project in analysing perceptions of safety and traffic behaviour.

At the heart of this project is the VR bicycle simulator which is being developed in collaboration with the FHNW Institute of 4D Technologies at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Initially, the project will be investigating the validity of such a simulator for measuring cyclists’ behavioural responses.
The next step will be to test the simulator as an infrastructure development tool, allowing transport engineers and designers to assess the effects of their plans on traffic behaviour before the infrastructure is actually built. The new findings can therefore be brought in early, during the design and further planning stages.

Project Dates

Lead and Team

Dr Alexander Erath (Project Manager, Future Cities Laboratory (FCL)
Michael van Eggermond (FCL)
Tanvi Maheshwari (FCL)
Mohsen Nazemi (FCL)
Michael Joos (FCL)
Dorothea Schaffner (FHNW School of Applied Psychology)
Simon Schubiger (FHNW School of Engineering, Institute of 4D Technologies)
Filip Schramka (FHNW School of Engineering, Institute of 4D Technologies)

Collaboration partners

Future Cities Laboratory, Singapore ETH Centre
FHNW School of Engineering, Institute of 4D Technologies


Singaporean National Research Foundation and ETH Zurich as part of the ‘Future Cities Laboratory’ research project conducted by Singapore ETH Centre.


The project is being financed as part of the Future Cities Laboratory by the National Research Foundation Singapore and ETH Zurich


“Globe”, publication by ETH (p. 38 – 41)


February 2016 - January 2019