Press Release


Parallel Consulting awarded NSF Phase I STTR Grant


June 20, 2011 -- Parallel Consulting, LLC has announced the award of a $ 148,928 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant from the National Science Foundation to develop “Educational Gaming for Teen Driver Safety”. The work will be performed in collaboration with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) under the guidance of principal investigator and Parallel Consulting president Dr. Noelle LaVoie and co-principal investigator Dr. Yi-Ching Lee. The award, effective from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, will be used to develop the first in a series of theoretically-grounded, evidence-based multi-player games designed to address the leading health risk to teens - motor vehicle crashes.


A key risk factor for teen crashes is teen passenger presence which more than doubles fatal crash risk. Through a partnership with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) the theoretically-grounded Ride Like a Friend (RLAF) program, will be used as the basis for developing a prototype driving game to reduce risk from peer passengers. The long term goal is to develop a suite of theoretically-driven, evaluated games that promote safe driving behaviors among teens.

This STTR will provide a new model for translating discoveries in teen driver safety to driver education that captures the difficult to articulate aspects of knowledge that are gained through experience, i.e. tacit knowledge. Multi-player strategy games provide a unique opportunity for teens to experience the effects of their driving decisions in a safe situation.


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for teens, accounting annually for over 3000 deaths, 100 times as many injuries, and over 14 billion dollars in associated costs. The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has been at the forefront of research devoted to understanding the combination of social pressures, developmental cognitive limits, and lack of experience that may be at the root of teen driver-related crash risks and this STTR will translate this scientific foundation into games that when commercialized and distributed will improve teen driver safety.


The proposed work is in line with both Parallel Consulting and CHOP’s missions. Both organizations are committed to translating current findings from teen driver safety research into products that directly support the goals of improving teen driving safety and improving the education process for creating safer drivers.


About Parallel Consulting

Parallel Consulting is an applied behavioral research firm that combines research and development efforts funded by federal agencies with consulting services, including research study design, product development and user experience research. Parallel Consulting was previously awarded a Phase I and Phase II STTR by the Army Research Institute for the development of an online driving safety training program for young adult Soldiers. This STTR continues the company’s efforts to improve driving safety through innovative training. Parallel Consulting is a woman-owned small business based in Petaluma, CA.


About The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 

The Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was established in 1998 to advance the safety of children and young adults through science. Operating with the central belief that children are not small adults, the Center's multidisciplinary team of researchers work to reduce injuries- the leading cause of death and acquired disability among the young. The Center's research is organized around three disciplines: epidemiology/ biostatistics, engineering, and behavioral science. Based on the research questions at hand, the Center draws from CHOP and University of Pennsylvania-based expertise in emergency medicine; pediatric trauma; surgery; nursing; social work; pediatric and adolescent medicine; epidemiology and biostatistics; bioengineering; psychology; behavioral science; communications; and health education. Center findings are published in scientific journals and translated into recommendation and education tools for parents, educators, policymakers and product manufacturers. For more information on the Center and its research initiatives, visit


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