Path To Safety

Path To Safety Logo
Team Name: 
Community Nexus


‘Path To Safety’ (PTS) is a community tool for helping users determine the safest route to their destination through crowdsourced user feedback. Our project directly provides a solution to the question 'How Do I Get Home Safe At Night?'.

PTS uses government data to identify areas that are more likely to be safe, and areas that are more likely to be dangerous. It also crowdsources data from users, who provide input as to whether an area is ‘Safe’ or ‘Unsafe’. Together, these points of safety and danger will be used to suggest an optimal ‘path to safety’ on a map. Users may then rate the path they take, providing further data to the system with respect to safe or dangerous areas. An 'emergency' button is also available, which signals on the map to other users that urgent help is required.

The intended users of PTS are any individuals (particularly pedestrians) who feel concerned about the safety of their route home, or anyone who would like to contribute to the system and thereby help others feel safe.

Our application can also be used by the homeless to identify safer areas and avoid potentially unsafe locations (‘Helping Out Homelessness’ prize category).

Because PTS highlights the safest locations in the community, PTS also serves to help ‘Explore what has Victoria has to offer’ and ‘Create connected communities’. For example, Path To Safety could highlight ideal locations for family outings, charity events, and large scale public events or festivals.

PTS also relates to the prize categories of ‘The Best Policy Insights Hack’, ‘Best use of data to improve Victorian local government services (or access to services)’, and ‘Planning for our Future’ as follows:

Through a combination of the initial government data, and the safe/unsafe location data crowdsourced thereafter, PTS provides a unique insight into the safety of our communities. This insight can subsequently guide/assist policy decisions (e.g. relating to liveable communities and wellbeing, such as City of Melbourne's 24 Hour City policy) and signal the need for an improvement in identified unsafe areas in terms of lighting, police patrols, or other safety mechanisms. The signalled need for improvement can then factor into planning for our future (through state budgeting, for example).

PTS relates to the prize categories of ‘Most innovative use of interdisciplinary data’ and ‘The Best Digital Transformation Hack’ as follows:

The data we have reused and transformed includes data for public lighting and lux levels (representing safe zones), liquor license locations (representing danger zones), and footpath traffic data (representing safe zones if traffic is high). We would have liked to have used taxi rank location data as well, but it was not available. Our project is very extendible, as any location-based data that suggests safe or unsafe areas could be included in our dataset. The datasets we have used are interdisciplinary and otherwise unrelated, however through our transformation of this data, we have connected the datasets and applied them to a common application. Note that the only data showing in our demo is public lighting data, due to size constraints on CartoDB. However, any geocode data (GeoJSON or KML format) could easily be represented on our map if this limitation was not in place.

We also believe PTS satisfies the category of ‘The Best Open Government Data Hack’. Our project uses government data as a means of prepopulating datasets. Citizens then engage with this data in the sense that potentially unsafe paths will be avoided. A new dataset for safe/unsafe locations is then formed from user feedback on particular locations and paths followed.

Finally, we believe that our project satisfies the prize category of ‘The Best Entreprenuerial Hack’. Based upon the many aforementioned applications and positive community benefits it could provide, we believe that PTS has strong potential as a startup or business. As a tool for the community, we believe the business would best be setup as not-for-profit. However, revenue sources are still required to sustain a not-for-profit, and thus potential sources of this revenue could include selling anonymous data to local government regarding the safety of different locations, and providing consulting services to event organisers regarding safe and ideal event hosting locations.

How to use the site:
Click on the buttons to place a safe/unsafe datapoint on the map (visible to all users).
After clicking the safe button, anywhere you click will be a green circle, representing a user clicking 'I'm feeling safe' at each of those points. Likewise for 'unsafe' (red). This is just for demo purposes, so that judges will not need to walk to different locations to test it.

Official video:
Presentation version of our video (for more detail):

Datasets Used: 
City of Melbourne Public Lighting ( City of Melbourne Lux Level (; not in demo due to CartoDB size limit) Licensed Venues (; not in demo due to CartoDB size limit) Crime Statistics Agency Data Tables - Crime by location (; not used in demo as too coarse i.e. only postcode-level) Victorian Police Stations (; not in demo as data link was broken) Footpaths (; not in demo as too intermittent, and size limit)

Local Event Location: