MySafetiPin - The App that is letting women identify the best route home
It has been 9 years since Nirbhaya Rape Case and women are still unsafe in the country. Countless crimes against women daily and boils down to the issue of women fending for themselves and looking out for each other. Harassment, abuse, and violence against women are sadly a phenomenon every woman has been subjected to. In response to these heinous acts, women generally have to think multiple times before stepping out of their homes. This is a contradictory issue many are faced with, concerning women’s independence, rights and safety.
Dr Kalpana Viswanath co-founded the location-based app, MySafetipin by using crowdsourced information on areas based on safety criterion: public transport, light, people, openness, visibility, gender diversity, walk path, security and feeling.
"The app is completely free and anyone can download it on their smartphones and share their experience of public space. We gather data with the help of safety audits where people can rate a specific location based on nine parameters. The data is shared with all the users on the app so that they are made aware of the locations they are travelling through or to. This data can be used for improvement. The whole idea is to make cities safer for women, more walkable, improve street lights, and encourage more women to be out," explains Dr Kalpana. Ref 1
When users enter their destination, a safe route is suggested, marked with levels of safety as per the parameters on different routes. Safetipin encourages users to mark their input about various locations along with their timestamp so that the information is updated and encourages others to identify more routes and spots that can be used to warn others.
Suggestions for public transport, alternate routes, visibility, lighting are considerate ways of providing information and detailed audits can be made with walk path, gender diversity and feeling. Heat maps are used to identify the crowding and diversity of an area can also be determined to ensure a safe path based on your choice of commute.
Another great feature of this app is that it lets your preferred contact(s) track your movement and there is added information about security nearby, or can be used to track the nearest shop/atm/café etc in case of emergency. Users can identify the visibility of an area, the condition of a path and how a person feels in a certain location area. Even something as relevant as surveying a location before relocating there can help women make the best decision.
My Safetipin app is currently available in English, Hindi, Spanish, Mandarin, and Bahasa. Dr Kalpana also added that they are already operating in Nairobi, Bogota, Jakarta and Manila, as well as collecting data in eight other international cities — including Rio de Janeiro, Kuala Lumpur, and Johannesburg.
Kalpana adds that they have been working with several government service providers, NGOs, companies, portals and more to provide them access to the data the app collects from the safety audits. This can then be used as a tool by these organisations to help improve the safety of an area, for advocacy by NGOs, to extend safety outside the workplace, and made available to travel or property portals to give users information about the level of safety of specific areas. Ref 1
Safetipin provides information about factors that promote safety for women and other groups, citizens at large and important urban stakeholders. We give safety, inclusivity, and mobility data based on physical and social infrastructure and work with government service providers, NGOs, corporations, and portals.
The impact of this service has been used to improve lighting at more than 5000 spots in Delhi. Secondly, data has been collected in Bhopal to understand women’s mobility patterns in an Indian tier 2 city and in Bogota, data has led to more women using the bike paths after dark in the city.
These collaborations have led to reforms such as better security measures and improved conditions of localities about lighting, road condition, accessibility etc. all that is an effort to build a stronger and inclusive community for women.
References used from
Ref 1 - https://www.edexlive.com/happening/2020/feb/04/delhis-my-safetipin-app-is-telling-women-which-streets-are-unsafe-to-be-on-heres-how-10135.html
- Maryam Syed