An innovative pilot by AI & Me, supported by Fondation Botnar, is using big data and AI to map pedestrian risk around 1,000 schools in Vietnam and develop an app to connect young voices with decision-makers for safer roads.
AI&Me Project Manager Shanna Lucchesi from the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) said road traffic injury is the leading cause of death for young people aged 5 to 29 years and a critical problem in low- and middle-income countries.
“By 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas and more young people will be growing up in cities than ever before. Poor road infrastructure standards and use of vulnerable forms of transport, like walking and cycling, mean young people are particularly at risk for road trauma. Youth voices and robust data need to be at the heart of decisions on design, policy and interventions to inform investment to save lives,” she said.
The 3-year project, supported by Fondation Botnar and co-funded by the FIA Foundation, in collaboration with AIP Foundation, iRAP and Anditi, will focus on three cities in Vietnam and engage youth and local government.
Pedestrian risk mapping of 1,000 schools using Anditi data will help to identify the highest risk schools in the cities and, working closely with local government, the results will be shared.
106 priority schools will be assessed using the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) application, an award-winning evidence-based tool for measuring and communicating the risk children are exposed to on their journey to school. Using evidence-based research of their impact on safety, Star Ratings will be calculated at spot locations around the schools, where 1-star is the least safe and 5-star is the safest.
A youth engagement app will be developed and piloted working closely with 1,800 students aged 10-18 years. The app will map where students feel unsafe and safe on their walk to school.
Based on student feedback and SR4S results, and working closely with the schools, local government and students, 18 priority schools will be selected for implementation of infrastructure improvements to reduce road risk.
The project result will be a consolidated single mapping platform for use by students, schools and local government decision-makers to inform future investment and road safety initiatives for safer school journeys.
Ms Lucchesi said, “Vietnam loses nearly 25,000 people and US$3 billion annually due to road crashes. Despite these unacceptable levels of youth trauma, the true scale of the problem is often hidden from community consciousness.
“This project will help to protect and empower youth for safer roads.
“It capitalizes on Vietnam’s majority-youth population, high digital participation rates and access to Big Data that can be used for road safety. The Government is committed and seeks to become an international example for road safety change,” she said.
Vietnam’s 2021-2030 National Strategy on Road Traffic Safety calls for 100% of newly built national highways and provincial roads to be grade III or higher and 75% of the total length of the national highway network to reach 3 stars or more according to the standards of iRAP’s global road traffic safety assessment programme.
The AI&Me project is just one project in Fondation Botnar’s Fit4Future Programme underway to empower youth voices for success and create the changes in the world around them they want to see, especially in low and middle income countries.
Fondation Botnar is a Swiss-based foundation which champions the use of AI and digital technology to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments around the world. It does this by supporting research, catalysing diverse partners, and investing in scalable solutions.
The project is part of the AiRAP umbrella. Read more about iRAP’s AiRAP Initiative at https://irap.org/project/ai-rap/