SafeJourney connects solo travelers to safer local public transportation at their destination. Verified users with similar routes can partner up, share real-time updates, and coordinate through secure chats. This fosters security and companionship during nighttime journeys.
Solo night time travel on public transportation is a growing concern. As cities expand, many individuals rely on buses, trains, and subways, facing safety issues. Vulnerability to harassment and theft has prompted discussions about public transit safety, gender equality, and the need for improved security measures.
In today's fast-paced urban environments, the availability and convenience of local public transportation play a crucial role in facilitating people's daily commutes and travel routines. However, a persistent concern arises when it comes to solo travelers navigating public transportation during nighttime hours. The challenge lies in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals who rely on public transportation to reach their destinations after dark.
Problem Discovery: Solo Night Time Traveler Safety
Solo travelers, whether due to work, leisure, or other commitments, often find themselves faced with a dilemma when using public transportation at night. While using public transportation is an effective way to get around, there are a number of safety-related problems that can affect the experience. Harassment, theft, and even physical harm can cast a shadow over what should ideally be a seamless and secure journey.
Common challenges include Personal Safety, Theft, a lack of Assistance, and Stress.
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) in the UK, 50% of women feel unsafe walking and taking public transport. Other main concerns include the fear of physical or sexual violence in public spaces.
Other sources, such as IPSOS, a market research company, also show that 10.3 million Canadians (27% of the population) do not feel safe when taking public transit alone.
Based on our research (1:1 interviews and surveys), when travelers travel alone at night, one of the main concerns is fear of crime or harassment. In addition, interviewees noted experiences such as “I would not travel alone after 9pm-10pm,” and “Traveling with a friend or family member definitely makes things easier and safer.”
Survey analysis showed that 65.2% of the users felt unsafe when traveling on public transportation at night.
Other typical challenges when traveling include aggressive passengers, under the influence passengers, and a lack of transportation frequency, making travelers concerned about their safety while waiting.
Safety measures previously taken by travelers include staying in well-lit areas, avoiding empty areas, sharing plans with friends / family, etc., keeping valuables, and using car-sharing services such as Uber.
Landing on a Solution
By creating an effective way for users to feel reassured and safe when commuting, SafeJourney can encourage individuals to increase their usage of local public transportation, that can ultimately contribute to safer and more enjoyable travel experiences.
- Enhanced User Safety: The primary goal is to significantly improve the safety and security of solo travelers on public transportation at night.
- Empowerment and Confidence: This will ultimately contribute to a positive travel experience and increase overall ridership.
- Peace of Mind: Reducing stress and anxiety related to safety concerns is a key objective.
- Promoting Public Transit Usage: By addressing safety concerns, we hope to positively impact public transportation ridership and reduce reliance on alternative, more expensive options (e.g ride-sharing apps like Uber)
- Continuous Improvement: Our high-level goal is to create a solution that evolves over time based on user feedback, technological advancements, and changing safety dynamics. This ensures that the solution remains relevant, effective, and aligned with users' needs.
On mobile, the users will have the ability to enter the address of their destination and be able to specify the following:
- The destination they are searching (Subway Station, Bus Stop, Train Stop)
- Pre-Determined Locations
- Choose a Travel Buddy based on preference (e.g male, woman, etc)
Users will need to create an account based on their phone number or SSO (Single Sign-On). Our main feature is safety, so we want to assure users that they are traveling with verified travel partners. SafeJourney will be using a third-party background check company such as Checkr (https://checkr.com/) or other companies to check criminal records.
The options can be displayed in either a list or map view. Once the final destination has been selected, the user will be matched with a traveling partner in addition to the meeting spot where you will meet together. The user will then be able to initiate a conversation in a chat room to arrange when to meet.
Upon arriving at the location, the navigation to their destination will begin and will also notify the location of the user.
- Pre-determined meet-up locations / Destinations
- Safety Background Verification done by the APP (like Uber)
- Pair up with traveling partner
- Messaging Feature
- Starting Point and Destination
- Look for users who have a similar destination
- Meet with this person at the designated time
Design and UX
SafeJourney's design and user experience (UX) are the result of an approach centered on user-friendliness. Our team has created an interface that prioritizes usability and seamless navigation. Every detail has been improved through extensive user testing and feedback, ensuring that SafeJourney provides an intuitive and enjoyable experience for all users.
We developed an approach to testing the product concept and usability, as well as determining how we could iterate and improve the overall experience. We sought to make the user testing experience as accessible and inclusive as possible, giving testers the option of trying out SafeJourney remotely (through Maze), so they can try it out at their leisure.
- CSS Framework
- Tailwind CSS
- Version Control
- Git and Github
- Creating map components was a big challenge, but MapLibre made it easier. It provides various features like Geocoding, Autocomplete,etc.
- Implementation of a matching algorithm for a suitable travel partner on the basis of preferences was also tough, but we completed it using Firestore for real time communication.
Even though Co.Lab is over, our product journey is still going strong. Using the feedback as a guide, we will keep making SafeJourney better in future versions and implement features that were originally planned.
If you like our work or want to learn more about our journey with SafeJourney, please do not hesitate to reach out!
Product Manager Learnings:
- I learned how to put theory into practice: This included leading a team, implementing Agile practices during sprints, creating user stories, user research, and validation.
- I learned how to work with a remote team and adapt to other team members' communication styles in order to align and prioritize our work together.
- Creating a product vision from ideation to launch by following a software development cycle.
- I learned how to develop a product with a remote, cr ss-functional team
- I learned how to design while adhering to time and technical constraints
- I learned how to implement functionalities related to map APIs and real time communication features.
- I learned how to work with a cross-functional team.
- I learned a lot about the journey of a potential product from 0 to 1, right from the Lo-Fi design to the implementation.
- Thinking about the product is as important as coding it. The more detailed the research, the better the implementation.
Full Team Learning
As a remote team, we faced a number of challenges, but we were ultimately able to overcome them through communication. Effective communication in cross-collaboration is essential for aligning goals, establishing accountability, and ultimately building relationships that ensure successful teamwork. Overall, we have grown a lot working on this project both in a personal and professional way.