Our project engages students to follow the Safe Route to and from school by using a mobile application EstudiAR, designed especially for the students of our school. We focused on increasing awareness of traffic rules and road safety.
Our school is situated in a crowded area of Kazan city, with heavy traffic. The dormitory of our lyceum is about 15-20 minutes walking distance from the school. Students have to walk the same distance every day. There is a safe route to the dormitory and there are many alternative ways that are unsafe and violate traffic rules. Many students choose the second option which is a little shorter but by doing this they risk their health and well-being. This happens mostly because students underestimate the risks they are in when they cross the road in forbidden places. They usually do not want to be late to school, and have little time-management skills.
Students use mobile phones very often and they are interested in technology. This interest can be put to good use. So we decided to use it to solve the problem of disregard for traffic rules. In collaboration with our friend from ITIS (KFU) we came up with an idea for a mobile application that would help students learn about a Safe Route from the school to the dormitory that they could follow.
We also wanted to explain to students and adults the importance of following traffic rules and increase their awareness of road safety. We made a plan for the action and started on our project.
We developed a mobile application “EstudiAR” in collaboration with ITIS (KFU). It was designed especially for the students of Lyceum Boarding School №2 and tested by them. It helps students learn about the Safe Route and engage them to follow it. This application uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Students download the application from Play Market (https://goo.gl/IhYrfR) and install it on their mobile phones and tablets. After that, when they look at the city map through the camera of their devices, they see the Safe Route from the school to the place where they live. This route is highlighted in green. The most interesting aspect is that they can see cars moving on the roads, people walking on the streets, traffic lights changing their color, and all the crosswalks. And all those objects are 3D. Most of the students are really interested in this application and use it regularly.
We did an interview with the students of our school which shows that after using the “EstudiAR” application, their awareness of road safety and traffic rules improved. Questions included knowledge of where it is safe to cross the roads or the number of traffic lights and crosswalks on their route from school. The results are presented in the picture. Knowledge of the Safe Route and traffic rules has improved by 34% on average, as seen in the diagrams. This application can be used in other schools to improve knowledge of safe routes to take from home and school. So we started sharing this information with the government of our Tatarstan Republic and they have become very interested in it. In the future, we plan to improve characteristics and usability of the application and include some extra functions.
In our school, we made presentations about road safety during lessons in different classes and grades. During these presentations, we explained the importance of road safety, gave statistics about traffic accidents, explained the Safe Route and “EstudiAR” application and how to download and use it. We explained why it is important to follow traffic regulations and spoke about risky and responsible behavior, peer pressure and situations in other countries. We drew mind-maps to express our ideas.
We have made a socially significant action in our community – social advertising about road safety. On a few occasions, we went to the crossroad at a crowded place near our school. There we asked people about traffic rules, gave them leaflets about traffic regulations and explained the importance of following the rules. This action is presented in the video (https://youtu.be/5Xhkm-PyYnM). Another time, we checked the convenience for wheelchairs along the roads and weren’t satisfied with the road conditions.
We want to share this idea with other schools and inspire them to take action. Together we can make a change and improve the safety and mobility of our roads and cities.