I’m delighted to say that Thingitude has been awarded a grant from Thames Valley Berkshire Smart Cities Cluster to develop and deliver a live trial of a system that aims to help women students walk home safely.
This project is the brainchild of our trainee IoT consultant, Traecy Elezi. She surveyed 50 women students at the University of Reading and uncovered a problem we are excited to help tackle.
Three quick facts:
- So far this year (Sept 2019) there have been over 2,500 violent or sexual crimes reported to Police in Reading.
- It is estimated that only 8% of these crimes ever get reported to the Police, so the real number is likely to be much higher.
- Reading is one of the safer university towns/cities in the UK.
A Facebook group was set up at the end of 2018, for women students in Reading to arrange to walk home in pairs or groups rather than alone. It has 3,000 members which indicates that women students work to keep themselves safe. Traecy’s survey explored the steps women take to ensure their safety in more depth, and it was these findings that informed our project.
We have worked with a small group of women students to co-design an app (working title – MyWay) that will give the user an at-a-glance view of their journey home – with relevant and up to date safety info such as: well-lit v dimly lit roads, the number of other people about, active troublespots in town, whether a street has lively happy noise, or “angry” noise to avoid.
We are designing sensors that will be installed on every street in the town centre and out towards the university area, and these will feed the app regular updates to make sure the information presented to the user is recent and meaningful.
We are installing sensors now! The app is progressing well and the first release should be with students in the next few weeks. Watch this page for updates!