Safety After Dark

Transport for NSW is playing its’ part in addressing issues of safety for everyone in NSW. Women have the right to feel safe - we all do. We know Sydney is often regarded as one of the safest cities in the world. But we are committed to doing more.

We collaborated with the Greater Sydney Commission to codesign the Sydney Women’s Safety Charter. It brings the private and public sector together, showing that we all have a role to play. Alongside this launch in March, 2020, the Transport Digital Accelerator called on the private sector to improve safety for women through the Safety After Dark Innovation Challenge. This was Transport for NSW’s first direct action in response to the charter, reflecting its commitment. We sought submissions that responded to our challenge statement:

How we might use data and insights to inform decisions and put in place actions to make travelling in the city safer for women at night. 

After a thorough, competitive process we were thrilled to announce four winners, in August.

Winners include the University of Wollongong, two start-ups including data sharing platform She’s a Crowd and Lifestream by Guardian, and a partnership between Cardno and UNSW.

Each winner is trying new waysof addressing a traditionally complex problem.

The reality is that these are not proven approaches and may not work. We know that women are disproportionately disadvantaged by issues of safety (for example, 87% of Australian women have experienced street harassment). We are excited to trial potentially game changing technologies as we continue to navigate uncharted territories.

Our project with the University of Wollongong’s, for example, is ambitious. Through our research, we found that many issues of safety may never be reported, globally. We sought to imagine how we might apply AI to our CCTV that can automatically detect behaviours that threaten or imply a threat to safety on our network.We are working towards a complete view of safety in our network and streamlined processes to respond to threatening behaviour.

She’s a Crowd, are using their deep gender-expertise to develop and test algorithmsthat might understand if what constitutes ‘best’ route when it comes to measures of safety. We are developinga complex and robust algorithm that could accurately calculate a better way for women or really anyone to travel than ‘least walking’. We will understand the value in applying different algorithms to routing options that may result in more informed wayfinding.

Cardno and UNSW will quantify passive surveillance through their Safety After Dark trial. Passive surveillance being how visible you are to others. Similarly, when you’re filtering by ‘least walking’ or ‘fastest’ routes, you might also choose to overlay that with passive surveillance.

Guardian is an early-stage startup with a personal assistance and safety platform. For many people, there may be less anxiety knowing there is a friendly and available operator available to speak with - no matter the circumstance. Their goal is to get Guardian in the hands of as many people as possible.

Women & Safety