A statement from UniSA said VR would be used to create a walkable environment that was suitable for use by older people.
The university pointed to the fact that in OECD countries up to 50% of road accidents involve older pedestrians. A study by Victoria Walks found people aged above 65 made up 14.6% of the population, but 39% of pedestrian fatalities.
A Road Safety Innovation Fund grant of $142,034 has been awarded to three researchers by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to carry out the study.
Dr Ahn said the study would utilise user experience methods including eye-tracking, getting participants to verbalise their thoughts (ThinkAloud techniques), and wearable bio-sensors to track physiological indicators of stress such as heart rate, skin conductance response and movement.
He said he would build on a pilot study that has been undertaken on Jetty Road at Glenelg.
The project is named A State-of-the-Art User Experience Approach for Assessing Pedestrian Safety Factors through the Experiences of Older People, in line with the City of Holdfast Bay's long-term plan for renovating the Jetty Road.
"Our ultimate ambition is for councils to be able to use this technology to test road designs virtually with vulnerable pedestrians, while still in the planning stages," said Dr Ahn.
"This means city planners can get an idea of how safe and usable the built environment will be and address any road safety issues well before construction begins.
"By making roads safer and decreasing the likelihood of accidents, we hope to see more older people taking a stroll."