Is ITS the solution to creating a safe city environment for children?

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Lars Leden
Per Gårder
Anna Schirokoff
Hector Monterde-i-Bort
Charlotta Johansson
Socrates Basbas

Our cities should be designed to accommodate everybody and at the same time lead to sustainability. Safety has two main aspects, traffic safety and personal safety (risk of assault). Besides being safe, children will need an urban environment with reasonable mobility, where they themselves can reach destinations with reasonable effort. This paper presents the results of two expert questionnaires focusing on the potential safety and mobility benefits to child pedestrians of targeted types of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Five different types of functional requests for children were identified based on previous work. The first expert questionnaire was structured to collect expert opinions on which ITS solutions or devices would be, and why, the most relevant ones to satisfy the five different functional requests of child pedestrians. Based on the first questionnaire, fifteen areas of interest (problem areas) were defined. In the second questionnaire, the experts ranked the fifteen areas, and prioritized related ITS services, according to their potential for developing ITS services beneficial to children. Several ITS systems for improving pedestrian quality are discussed. ITS services can be used when a pedestrian route takes them to a dangerous street, dangerous crossing point or through a dangerous neighbourhood. An improvement of safety and other qualities would lead to increased mobility and a more sustainable way of living. Children would learn how to live to support their own health and a sustainable city environment. But it will be up to national, regional and local governments, through their ministries and agencies and public works departments, to promote, fund, and possibly mandate such systems. It is clear that we need to offer an acceptable level of convenience, efficiency, comfort, safety and security to pedestrians but it is less clear if society will prioritize resources towards this.

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