Walking or cycling to school are encouraged to lessen the impact on the environment. However, concerns over road safety mean many parents can be reluctant to allow their children to do so. Improving road safety often requires gathering data, yet few organisations ever think to ask children for their views. When children are asked, their parents usually answer for them. The result is that road safety agencies lack important information from students.
The Traffic Agent smartphone app was developed to enable children to capture how they feel when they are travelling to school. The app was designed for children, taking feedback and suggestions from children, parents and teachers into consideration. Children play the part of a secret agent on the lookout for challenging and positive locations in their local area, with regard to traffic and pedestrian safety.
If children encounter something unsafe such as heavy traffic or an obstacle on their way to school, they can report it immediately via the app. Children can give an area thumbs up or down and select buttons which explain the problem. They can even send a message with more information.
The data collected by the Agency of Urban Environment is concise and pinpointed and provides the local government with important information for further traffic and mobility planning. Children's data and privacy is protected while the phones are tracked through GPS.
Schools are important partners for the Traffic Agent app and teachers are asked to sign up their classes. Teachers can access the data provided by their own class and can use it in class when teaching traffic security.
The app provides children with a sense of citizenship as they can see the impact they might have on their routes.