Making India’s Urban Streets Safer By Design

India has the highest number of traffic-crash deaths in the world. Of the 140,000 fatalities that occur annually, more than 40 percent take place in urban areas. A large percentage of these are pedestrians and bicyclists, who typically comprise more than half of the road users in Indian cities. Often, motorists are booked for recklessness, whereas the actual cause and subsequent solution may lie elsewhere. Yet, the popular discourse around road safety is focused on measures that make vehicular-use safer, such as enforcing traffic rules, the use of helmets and seat belts and avoiding drunk-driving amongst others. The real causes of accidents are almost never considered.

Scientifically, an accident is a multi-factor event that hinges on three variables – road-user behavior, vehicle characteristics, and physical infrastructure. Creating better physical infrastructure is the most tangible action that will ensure better road safety, and it needs minimal enforcement. It therefore essential that all our roads be designed as per standard road safety engineering principles and be equipped with necessary physical features such as mid-block crossings and refuge points, to minimize accidents.

The Benefits of “Complete” Streets

Roads form the largest percentage of public space available for city dwellers. For example, in Mumbai, streets form 78 percent of the total non-buildable public space. Thus, creating a network of well-designed streets can result in multiple benefits for the city in terms of quality of life. Firstly, utilizing leftover spaces along the road network to develop comfortable and attractive public spaces can not only help accommodate ancillary functions characteristic of the Indian street-space, such as chai-stalls and street vendors , but also help support local commercial and cultural activity, including tourism. Secondly, comprehensive street design can serve critical environmental functions for the city such as reducing the heat-island effect through urban-greening and recycling storm-water run-off through built-in bio-swales.

Thirdly, it gives civic authorities the chance to ensure that urban streets are planned for the entire range of road users, and not just vehicles. Catering to the mobility needs of vulnerable users such as physically challenged persons, the elderly and children is absolutely essential. Integrating cycle-tracks and providing adequate and uninterrupted walking space can promote non-motorized transport (NMT), leading to substantial health benefits.

Google Play store…Personal and Women Safety App

Google Play Store.. GPS Tracker and Family Tracker

Download: SafetiPin (Android, iOS)

For a while now, popular app repositories have seen quite a drastic spike up in the number of “safety” apps. Most of them don’t work as well as advertised (check out our review of FightBack here), or are just poorly implemented because of lack of resources (data connectivity, location tracking, unstable OS, etc), here’s one more added to the list.
This one, however, claims to be a bit different — the SafetiPin app suggests that it is more of a neighbourhood watch thing. You can create your ‘Circles of Interest’ and follow any post, just like that in Google+ and you can pin pictures, just like with Pinterest. And to make this a fun social experiment, you can add posts with pictures; and comment on what others put up as well. Check out the download details below:
Publisher: Ashish Basu / SafetiPin
Price: Free
Platforms: iOS, Android
Size: 6.4 MB – 20.3 MB
Download URLs: iOS – Safetipin: Complete Safety App

Android – Safetipin: Complete Safety App

Uber drivers will mount cameras on their cars for crowdsourced neighborhood safety project

Uber is making moves to boost its security credentials today with the news that it’s partnering with Safetipin, a crowdsourced community service that collates safety-related data submitted by the public.

The company says it will look to “contribute to Safetipin’s data collection efforts” by training its own drivers to work in tandem with Safetipin’s auditors. Uber’s drivers will collect data at night using camera-enabled smartphones, which will be mounted to the exterior of their cars to capture photos of neighborhoods and roads.

Each snap will then be tagged based on nine key attributes to arrive at an overall safety score, including: lighting, visibility, openness, security, walk-path, and gender diversity.

This marks part of Uber’s bigger shift toward working on its reputation, after Uber was banned in Delhi, India following rape allegations made against a driver late last year. The woman in question is now suing the company in a U.S. court.

The fruits of this Safetipin partnership will first be seen in India’s New Delhi before arriving in “other global markets” later this year, including Bogotá, Colombia and Nairobi, Kenya.

Circles of interest
Safetipin Safetipin is a map-based smartphone app that invites users to rank communities’ safety credentials and discuss all things “security” pertaining to their neighbourhoods. Safetipin itself launched in Delhi back in 2013, but it can be used anywhere in the world.

Users set up what are known as “Circles of Interest,” which typically would be a neighborhood, but could also be a university campus or place of work. Anyone can then post comments to these circles, which can include things like incidents, hazards, harassments, or even a “bad feeling.” Users can also upload photographs to supplement these comments.

This data is used to help promote safety for women and other groups. So-called “safety audits” are made available not only to the general public, but also to governments, NGOs, and other key stakeholders.

Safety and planning
Uber says it will also work directly with governments and town planners to work on new projects based on this data, which may involve things like erecting new streetlights.

Google Play Store… Personal & Women Safety App

Google Play Store… GPS Tracker & Women Safety App

‘Safetipin’ Identifies Unsafe Spots for Women in City

KOCHI: The students of Sacred Heart college has prepared an audit report of the areas in the city which are unsafe for women. The report was prepared using the app ‘Safetipin’. It concludes that security of women is at risk in some of the main spots in the city, including Thevara, Karikkamuri, Elamkulam, Shenoys, Marine Drive, Ernakulam South and Vennala.

The safety audit report was released at the college on Friday. Sacred Heart College principal Fr Prasant Palackapillil handed over the audit review to Muhammed Rafeeq, DCP (Administration and crime).

The app, ‘SafetiPin’, is a map-based free mobile safety app which uses crowd-sourced information to prepare safety audits. Users and professionally trained auditors can provide safety-related information in the app.

It consists of a set of nine parameters that together contribute to the perception of safety in a region. Each audit using the app results in a pin on the specific location where the audit was performed. It also records the time and date of each audit.

The event was jointly organised by Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre and SH School of Communication. Police authorities, lawyers, corporation officials, Kochi Metro representatives and students shared their concern at the function.

Corporation Town Planning Standing Committee Chairman K J Sohan stated the need of such ventures like ‘Safetipin’ for safer cities and pledged support for the implementation of such projects in the city.

Babu Joseph, Director of SH School of Communication, Shana Susan Ninan, Surakshitha Kochi Programme Coordinator, Mini Dileep and Seena Teacher, Corporation Councillors, Anna M, Safetipin programme coordinator, Rejitha, representative from Sakhi,Beena Sebastian, Cultural Academy for Peace, and Jyothi Narayanan attended the event….Article Source….Newindianexpress.com

Google Play Store… Personal & Women Safety App

Google Play Store… GPS Tracker & Family Tracker

Safetipin: A new Mobile App for Women’s Safety

New DELHI: In the wake of concerns being raised on a security of women in cities, a researcher on women issues and a technology entrepreneur have joined hands to launch a mobile application, Safetipin, which provides safety-related information collected by users.
Safetipin is a map-based mobile phone app, that crowdsources and maps information about safety in neighbourhood and cities.
The app, which is available to Android and iPhone users, is free to use and is available on the App Store and Google Play.
The app was launched today in the national capital, by its co-founders Kalpana Viswanath and Ashish Basu.
Speaking at the launch, Basu said: “The app gives people a way to engage with their neighbourhood and communities on important issues.”..Article Source….TOI

Google Play Store….Personal & Women Safety App

Google Play Store… GPS Tracker & Family Tracker App

Map Places And Secure Your City With a ‘Safetipin’

Apps that keep you safe

The city is often touted as the safest metropolis, but a number of residents will tell you there are parts of Chennai where one would definitely feel unsafe.

So which are the ‘good’ neighbourhoods, and which are the ‘bad’? And what can be done about them?

To conduct a safety audit of the city, and physically map spaces on a safety scale, city-based NGO, Prajnya, has tied up with ‘Safetipin’, a mobile and online platform that collects information about safety in cities by engaging individuals.

“So far, we have conducted 358 audits in the city, primarily in parts of Royapettah, Tambaram, Shenoy Nagar/Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar and Thiruvanmiyur. We are hoping to reach 1,500 audits in the next six weeks but urgently need volunteers to help,” said Anupama Srinivasan, programme director, Prajnya.

Once this number is reached, ‘Safetipin’ will be formally launched in Chennai so that users will have a database to begin with, she said.

How this works is simple: between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., volunteers with a smartphone that has the ‘Safetipin’ app go to a location in the city, pin the spot on a map using GPS and then rate the spot.

The parameters for rating include lighting, security, access to public transport and people around, and also a subjective ‘feeling’ of the place. Based on the audit, the location is given either a green (safe), amber (less safe) or red (unsafe) rating.

The idea behind the initiative is two-fold. The primary aim is for residents, especially women and visitors to the city, to be able to see which locations are considered ‘unsafe’.

Another aim is to collect the data and give it to civic authorities so they can remedy the situation — improve streetlighting in an area, for instance.

Soon, said Kalpana Viswanath, co-founder of ‘Safetipin’, the audits per location will be aggregated and each neighbourhood will be given a rating. “The initiative is present in seven cities as of now, and has two international partnerships in Jakarta and Bogota,” she said. Ms. Viswanath said that while this is not an emergency app, it does have a tracking feature — if two people have the app on their phones, one can track the other’s progress on a journey from one point to another in the city, for instance.

For 25-year-old Bezaleel Azariah, a volunteer who has completed 99 audits in Tambaram, the focus is on making the city safer.

“It’s not just for women — it’s for men too. The audit takes just five minutes but it is an important and useful tool for cities,” he said.Article Source…The Hindu

Google Play Store… Personal & Women Safety App

Google Play Store….. GPS Tracker & Family Tracking

Safetipin Makes The World Less Scary at Night

There are certain neighborhoods that you just can’t walk around in at night. It’s hard to explain, but the only thing you know is that being there leaves you with a creeping, niggling feeling. How do you report this feeling without sounding crazy? What makes people feel safe when they’re in a neighborhood? Wide streets? Bright lights? A certain number of cars?

The two founders of Safetipin, Ashish Basu and Kalpana Vishwanath, have narrowed safety down to nine factors: lighting, openness, visibility, people density, security, walk path, transportation in the area, and feeling.

Safetipin crowdsources information on these nine factors in order to paint an accurate and transparent picture of cities.

The first eight work as independent variables, or factors that are measured on their own in the physical world. The last, “feeling”, counts as a dependent variable and is observed in conjunction with the first eight. “To explain a tangible like “feeling”, you need backup data,” explains Ashish. “We use the preceding data to understand changes in it.”
Once a certain number of these audits are conducted in an area, they are aggregated to create a “safety score”. Safety scores range from one to ten and are represented in that order by green, amber, or red pins. Audits can be shared on social networks and users can create “walls” about certain areas that will then allow them to post info online like broken traffic lights and bad roads.

These are all accessible on Safetipin’s app, which also provides access to information about amenities like 24-hour pharmacies and ATMs. Among other things, the app also acts as a GPS tracker. “It’s over-configured,” Ashish jokes. The app is available in English, Hindi, Bahasa, Spanish, and Mandarin and has had over 40,000 contributions. It eventually hopes to cover 100 cities across South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America and currently works in one city in each of these areas: Jakarta, Bogota, Nairobi, and Delhi.
The difficult thing about crowdsourcing information is maintaining quantity and quality.

In India, Safetipin has been launched in what is known as the country’s “rape capital”, Delhi. While that’s a horrible and degrading way to describe a city – as if rapes can be quantified and addressed in the same way that a certain number of startups can define a “startup capital” or a proliferation of food stalls can define a “street food capital” – the number of reported rapes in Delhi are more than anywhere else in the country. Reported cases doubled from 706 to 1,638 between 2012 and 2013. Last year saw 2,166 reported rape cases.

However, it is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean that the number of rapes are increasing. In fact, it might actually be a positive thing – perhaps, more people are reporting rape cases than ever before.

“More data is better data,” Ashish explains. “That was something important that we had to learn. You can’t have a sample size of two people telling you that an area is unsafe. You’re looking for more information.”

Because it can be unattractive for a business to exist in an unsafe area, some people go so far as to lie on these services. In order to address this problem, Ashish explains that the amount of data that the app has is important. “If you look at it in pure mathematical terms, those who fabricate numbers will be outliers.”

Of course, it’s not always easy to get these numbers. Particularly in apps that rely on social interaction like Safetipin, it can be difficult to motivate users to contribute. “The interesting trend was that many people would download the app but would then stop at one or two audits,” reminisces Ashish. “We tried everything from target groups to send out a rubric based set of questions. Eventually we found a bunch of volunteers who helped us crowdsource information.” With more contribution and change, however, the app has picked up. “That’s how behavior works on social networks,” says Ashish. “Once the ball gets rolling, it takes a lot to stop it.”

Google Play Store… Personal & Women Safety App

Google Play Store… GPS Tracker & Family Safety App

Article Source….techinasia