About our thoughts on safety after dark

Safety after dark

4 June 2015 in Development


I’m an older sister, and last September my not so little sister went off to university. I think I’m secretly more scared and nervous about it all than my parents. There’s a mere 4 years between me and her, but I’m forever telling her to be careful, be home on time, to walk in pairs, the list goes on and frankly I think she’s getting sick of me and my nagging.

But I do it out of love and with good reason. This January a survey commissioned by the Telegraph reported that one in three female students has been physically or sexually assaulted, on poorly lit UK campuses. Further statistics found that one in eight male students has also been subject to a similar experiences. Even more shockingly more than half of female undergraduates know someone who has suffered sexual assault or unwanted advances. So in a world with so much darkness it’s nice to hear of those that are shedding a little light.

Hannah Dow and Steve Coffey are some of those people. Graduates of University of Michigan they have developed a brand new mobile app called Rudder that could help those travellers of the dark with a little guidance. The app provides directions to your given destination, by displaying a route that is the quickest but more importantly best lit option. It does so by incorporporating a selected city’s street light data with precise turn-by-turn directions. The app states to provide directions to a destination with an algorithm that ensures to not take you more than five to eight minutes out of your way en route.

The app features a progress meter to track how much of the journey is completed/yet to complete, as well as a light meter. This enables the user to determine how well lit their current surroundings are, making you a little more aware and alert when necessary. Dow and Coffey have bigger plans though. They are now looking to expand the app by adding a feature that enables the user to share their travel progress with family and friends, allowing them to keep track of their progression and giving them a heads up on arrival at the destination. Furthermore they want to enable turn by turn notifications. This would allow the user to keep their phone in their pocket while still receiving directions and being able to focus on their surroundings and environment instead.

The app is currently available in a range of states across the USA, Canada and even venturing to Paris, France. Here’s to hoping this app reaches a lot more places providing us all with a little more guidance and light when needed.

Roz, Designer