We want to create safer school routes and simultaneously get more people to walk and cycle.
Published: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 9:56 AM
Vibeke Fredrikke Rørholt
About the Traffic Agent
The Traffic Agent’s App is created to enable primary school children to map their route to school and register positive and negative spots along the way. It’s primarily about traffic, but also about travel habits.
Who is responsible for the Traffic Agent’s App?
Agency of Urban Environment, Norwegian Centre for Transport Research and Oslo City Teaching Agency have cooperated to create the app. More than 43 000 school children can identify and report hazardous places on the route to and from school, with help from a mobile phone.
Why is this important?
It’s important to find out how school children travel to school. By knowing this we secure the locations related to where we have to make our efforts. This information is essential when BYM start planning further road safety measures on their routes to school.
The pupils only need to map the traffic safety on their route to school once. This is on the way to school, and it’s outside of regular school hours. 'The Traffic Agent’ is the fastest way to showcase, set focus on and get their way to school fixed. Moreover, pupils learn more about road safety when they map their route to school. We will of course be extra happy if pupils wish to go more days. It is also possible to report both to and from school, to the library or to soccer practice.
What does the Traffic Agent’s App actually do?
The Traffic agent is an application and a mapping tool that gives children a possibility to contribute in to making roads in their local area and to school better and safer. The Traffic agent records the children’s reports and tracks their immediate feedback on positive and negative aspects of their route to school. It pins the children’s reports in to an electronic map. This gives valuable information that can be taken in to consideration in our work to improve roads and increase traffic security.
The Traffic agent also maps their travel routine and who they are travelling with. This information is important to us, because it allows us to collect numbers on how many there is that are travelling by bike, by foot or if they make use of the public transportation system to school. We wish to increase the number, but for us to succeed the children needs safe roads to travel.
We are also cooperating with The Norwegian centre for Transport Research (TØI), they are very much interested in that the. The Traffic agent information can provide since a thorough mapping of children’s travel habits have never been done before with the children as the main respondents, it has only been done through the parents.
This is how it works: Download The Traffic Agent system architecture (pdf)
How does the Traffic Agent’s App work?
The app is designed like a spy game and communicates with the children. The children enroll safe - or unsafe areas where they congregate. Schoolchildren are assigned with a unique agent number as they log into the application with. There is privacy considerations volunteer for parents whether their children will be using the application or not.
Pupils who do not have access to smart phones will be offered to borrow a phone at the Netcom store at Skøyen.
The App tracks the school children’s movements by GPS, and the App let them register positive and negative spots on their way. They do this with help from forms where they can check categories like “intersection”, “pavement”, “heavy traffic/low traffic”, “good visibility/poor visibility”, ”high speed/low speed” and so on. Included in the functionality are also opportunities to attach images and write messages.
Why do we want pupils to be Traffic Agents?
Agency of Urban Environment will collect all data and make a report. We’ll be able to spot children’s and Parents needs on safe travelling to school and make immediate adjustments and changes. We are already working to improve reported points. We can’t promise all reported points to be changed or improved. However the report will show whether a greater focus is necessary on children’s route to school. Our aim is that a new Mobile App will help improve the work to get more people to walk and cycle.
What can the Principal do?
Principals can convey the following message to the schools staff, pupils and parents: “You can now help improve the traffic situation in the schools neighborhoods.”
The Principal role is also to inspire the staff at school to facilitating allowing the school children to become Traffic Agents. From the Principals perspective this involves encouraging teachers or other school employees to do the electronic preparations that must be done before startup.
What can the Teacher do?
This is the electronic preparations that have to be done by teachers or others staff at school that have a user in It's Learning:
- Enroll their classes
- Generating codes to pupils
- Sending agent code certificates to the pupils' parents.
Experience has shown that this only takes 10 minutes.
What can the Guardians do?
We recommend the guardians to walk together with the youngest children. The guardians will get access to a survey where they can have their say about the children’s route to school. On the Parent-Teacher Association meetings guardians can coordinate walking groups.
What can the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) do?
PTA is often very focused on that their children’s way to school should be as safe as possible. Some PTA also has their own traffic groups who works dedicated to increase traffic safety in the neighborhood to the respectively schools. PTA can be a driving force to use ‘The Traffic Agent' internally at school. By being a catalyst for using the mapping tool PTA help ensure that traffic safety on the way to school is put on the agenda of Agency of Urban Environment. The results from the survey are safeguarded and measures will be assessed by the authority responsible for the municipal road network: Agency of Urban Environment.
When a guardians takeover finds place at school, part of the day may be used to map their route to school and teach children about traffic security. We have a ready-made educational programs adapted to that purpose.