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Safety After Dark Innovation Challenge

Creating a Passive Surveillance Index to improve safety for women travelling at night.

  • Parramatta, NSW, Australia

    Parramatta, NSW, Australia

A transformative digital initiative to reduce the risk of crime against women travelling at night.

With an alarming 9/10 women reporting they have been harassed when travelling on the public transport network, it is crucial that we provide women with safe travel options.

In partnership with Transport for NSW and the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, we developed a proof of concept for the Passive Surveillance Index (PSI) for city streets. The PSI models data from sources that may contribute to a sense of danger such as the lighting levels, business activity, the width of pathways and levels of pedestrian and vehicle activity. The PSI also uses experiential data obtained from women who regularly use the study area to feed into a machine learning model which generates a PSI ‘score’ for those streets.

Paramatta was the first site to be modelled. It is a large metropolitan area with lots of activity, a diverse demographic and an active and emerging nightlife economy, The index resonated with the City of Parramatta, which has made significant investment in attracting residents, workers, and nightlife to the area.

The potential for the index is considerable. It can identify factors that lead to women feeling unsafe and be used to predict areas of potential concern. It could become a powerful tool to inform investment and town planning decisions making the nighttime economy safer and more engaging for everyone. 

At a Glance

  • Transport for NSW
  • Dr Meead Saberi, UNSW
Safety after Dark Innovation Challenge, Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW)

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