Majority of the women safety oriented apps that are currently available in playstore or appstore are based on location sharing with contacts and option to quickly send an SOS message to them.
In 2019, Google launched a Stay Safer feature on Maps with these features. Recently Truecaller launched Guardians app which helps a woman to choose a set of guardians from her contacts and share her location with them or quickly send a help message.
In certain situations like when a woman is travelling alone late night and the journey is long, to make her feel absolutely safe, monitoring by relatives or friends alone may not be enough. A next layer can be built on top of the amazing safety apps to give an option for the travellers to share their location with the police monitoring room and also send auto alerts to them in case of an emergency . Following are few suggestions on what could be a potential design of such a system.
1, Live monitoring by police or civic authorities
> Women voluntarily share live info to the police control room: Women travellers get an option on their app to voluntarily alert the police monitoring team about their journey with start and end points and the number of the vehicle. Give them option to share their live location details automatically with the official verified police control room.
> Maps based dashboard at each police control room: Each police control team will be responsible for certain routes and see all the live locations of all women who have shared their locations on a single map, with stats and alerts. The system will auto alert if the location of any traveller deviates from the ideal route from start to end points of their reported journey.
> Mandatory location tracking for the vehicles: For cars or autos that are having women passengers who have requested police monitoring, the drivers should mandatorily share their tracking signal to the police control room. This ensures dual tracking for each trip, the passenger’s signal and the driver’s signal.
> Alerts for any missing signals and deviations: In case of any suspected deviation, the police team should see immediate alerts. To make it foolproof, the team should also be alerted if there is a loss of tracking signal due to network congestion, signal jamming, loss of mobile battery power, etc so that they can use their patrol vehicles or traffic cams to track the vehicle and ensure safety. In case of a missing signal, the nearest patrol vehicle should be alerted so that they can go and track down the vehicle.
> Integrated inside existing apps : Incorporate this functionality in the user app for cab or auto booking . Similarly the design of driver app should be such that vehicle location , driver details, vehicle number , etc will be automatically shared from the driver app. The concept called also apply to dating apps.
2, Co-traveller pooling
> This is more relevant for long distance travel from places like airports and railway stations which will have a large number of travellers at any point of time and hence higher probability of finding others who are heading in the same direction. Best example is Bengaluru airport which is located almost 40kms away from the city. The basic assumption is that women will feel safer when travelling in the company of others(trustable) rather than alone.
>Ticketing booking apps can have a mechanism where women travellers can share their travel plans, as soon as they book tickets, to a trusted pool and then the system finds an ideal reliable match based on time of travel and other factors. This is similar to how pooling or sharing works for Uber, Ola, etc, but the difference is that the matching happens hours or days before the actual trip and not at the last minute. The system can even give option for the matched co-travellers to contact each other before hand to build a mutual trust. To build trust, there could a combination of a one time government id verification + linking of social media profiles .