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Mobility has a different definition for every person around the world. Some of us take cars and motorbikes to bring their children to school. Other students can walk or ride their bicycle. No matter how we move, mobility is at the heart of our society, and our future generations’ access to education.

Road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years globally. In Vietnam, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that more than 6,200 children and youth aged 5-29 were killed in road crashes in 2019. This represents a public health crisis that disproportionately affects young people most. Road upgrades, speed management, as well as enforcement of behavioural risk factors are needed to effectively address this crisis.

“It’s time we see young people not just as victims of road crashes but as assets who can help end the senseless loss of lives on the roads,” shared Maolin Macatangay, Communications Manager at Youth For Road Safety (YOURS). Youth engagement is critical to building sustainable community impact. Today’s youth are more interconnected – absorbing the world’s knowledge, expressing themselves passionately, and fighting for positive change around the world.

Building on this, the non-profit AIP Foundation launched the three-year programme AI&Me: Empowering youth for safer roads in 2021, supported by Fondation Botnar – a foundation which champions the use of AI and digital technologies to improve the wellbeing of young people in urban environments – co-funded by FIA Foundation, and implemented in partnership with Anditi and iRAP.

The goal of the programme is to harness proven and emerging technologies to support governments in focusing life-saving road upgrades and speed management toward the locations where young people have indicated they need it most.

The AI&Me programme is now celebrating one year, with many positive achievements accomplished so far, starting with approvals of the programme’s implementation by the Vietnam governments both at national and provincial levels. They have shown their high commitment since then. In addition, Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed with the Traffic Safety Committees and Departments of Education and Training at both National and Provincial levels.

The screening methodology harnesses the power of Big Data with a human approach centred on high-risk communities and urban environments. Thanks to this approach, 1,063 schools in three pilot cities were evaluated, with 106 schools chosen for further detailed assessments in a later stage (56 schools in Ho Chi Minh City, 25 in Yen Bai, and 25 in Pleiku). These schools will now be prioritized for detailed road safety assessments using the iRAP Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) application.

In January 2022, a Big Data Screening training was held for government stakeholders, staff and representatives from high-risk schools. 86% of participants found the Big Data Screening methodology presented in training useful or very useful for government stakeholders to identify high-risk communities and locations more easily.

In parallel, 28 in-depth interviews were conducted with students, teachers, and parents from secondary schools, high schools, colleges and universities in three target cities to support the development of a Youth Engagement App (YEA), to offer young people an efficient way to identify and report high-risk road conditions, providing them with a platform for their voices to be heard.

AIP Foundation selected 18 schools for piloting the YEA app based on the following criteria: strong commitment to road safety education, active participation in road safety activities, and the principal’s ability to effectively mobilize teachers, students and parents. Per school, 100 students will be chosen to participate in programme activities, mainly piloting the YEA app in the second year of the project.

The YEA app is on track to help young people in Vietnam report unsafe road conditions to their government and effectively prevent road crashes, for all students to have safe and equal access to education and to cultivate safety in the community. It brings us closer to our vision of a world where all neighbourhood streets are liveable, safe, and sustainable.

Interim results of the Ai&Me Project will be presented at the International Walk21 Conference to be held 19-23 September 2022 in Dublin

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The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is a Registered Charity with UN ECOSOC Consultative Status.
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