Safety Audit Report for Mumbai highlights that while 56% of Mumbai is rated good in terms of safety, only 31% of the streets are adequately lit and 22% is walkable.

Mumbai, December 22, 2017: In the endeavour to make cities safer and give citizens, women in particular, the freedom of mobility, collaborative efforts that bring together stakeholder groups are increasingly leveraging the power of technology not only to create stronger deterrents but also for data driven policy making. Setting an example of using data and technology to support cities in their efforts to become safer, smarter and more gender inclusive, Uber, the world’s largest on-demand ride-sharing company has partnered with Safeti Pin, a social enterprise providing technology solutions to make our cities safer for women and others. By equipping regulators with data around non-functioning streetlights and unsafe areas using technology and crowd sourced data, the joint effort has helped in improving the safety of cities.

Aimed at furthering women safety in shared public spaces, Uber extensively helps with data collection in this the joint initiative with Safeti Pin to conduct safety audits. The audits tag streets and localities in a city with safety scores based on nine parameters: lighting, visibility, openness, transport infrastructure, walk paths, police patrolling, gender diversity, people density, and feeling of security. Depending on the requirements, smartphones mounted on the exterior of Uber’s cabs also capture night-time photographs of streets and localities.

As a part of the Safe Cities Programme undertaken by Safetipin with UN Women in collaboration with Akshara Centre and Uber, a total of 5,834 audits were conducted over 366 km of road length, showcasing data on physical infrastructure and social usage in public spaces of Mumbai recently. The findings were shared by Vijaya Rahatkar, Chairperson of Maharashtra State Commission for Women at the launch of the Safety Audit Report. The report pointed out that while 56% of Mumbai is rated good in terms of safety, only 31% of the streets are adequately lit and 22% is walkable.

Commenting on the government’s initiatives on installing CCTVs, upgrading Forensic labs, infrastructure for police, assured that she would direct the Commissioner of Police, Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai and Ward Councillors to work towards the recommendations of the report. “Women should not only get a feeling of safety while accessing the public places, but also that of dignity and entitlement”, she added.

By calling for demonstrable use-cases where technology is visibly impacting mobility and safety, regulators can provide a big fillip to data-driven policy making. Emphasizing how technology can make a difference and credibly solve for challenges of making cities safer and gender inclusive, Pradeep Parameswaran, Head of Operations, Uber India & South Asia added, “In the endeavour to make cities safer and give citizens, women in particular, the freedom of mobility, we are glad that effective gathering and sharing of actionable data is yielding desirable outcomes. As hundreds of Ubers on the road in Mumbai helped collect essential data for Safetipin to inform and update the audit, we were able to demonstrate how technology can be harnessed to improve safety.

About 170 youngsters had spread across Mumbai to conduct these audits using ‘My Safetipin’ a mobile based application. Launched in 2013, My SafetiPin has been used in over 30 cities in 10 countries. Speaking on this occasion, Dr Kalpana Viswanath, Co-founder and CEO of SafetiPin informed “Our organization is as old as that watershed movement that addressed violence against women specifically looking at public spaces in the cities. This app can be used by NGOs, government officials, transport authorities, in fact by all the citizens to use the safety information as well as giving feedback on their cities.”

Anju Pandey, Programme Specialist, Ending Violence Against Women, UN Women connected the report launch to the historical moment when gender equality was included for the first time as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Women experience the city differently from men, and the fear of sexual violence in public space has far-reaching on their quality of life. The gender digital divide is at its narrowest among the youth. Therefore technology and mobile applications can be instrumental in reaching out to women as well as young men in the effort of building gender inclusive cities. Smart use of technology coupled with equitable and effective use of data should be at the heart of regulations of the future, so that they not only ensure women’s safety in cities but also promote shared mobility, dis-incentivise private car ownership, increase use of public transport, and open up space in the city for other public purposes and infrastructural development.

Regulations should adapt to the digital age and facilitate the development of innovative services to equitably improve mobility, safety, consumer welfare and sustainability. Over the years, there have been many initiatives aimed at making women feel safer and making cities and public spaces more inclusive.

Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)

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