SafeHer: Using AI to Ensure Women’s Transport Safety   

SafeHer has its Alpha Launch at De La Salle University July 7 2023 !  

The SafeHer prototype  was developed from our f<a+i>r  Feminist AI funded paper on “AI (em)powered Mobility”   led by SDRC research fellow and De La Salle University Department of Philosophy faculty member Dr. Hazel Biana.  The paper and prototype  focus on public transport systems  in Metro Manila, systems hailed as dangerous and unsafe for women. 

In efforts to extend boundary partnerships and create new collaborations  representatives of 

  • the Philippine Commission on Women
  • Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) 
  • Pasig Gender and Development office
  • Youth for Mental Health Coalition 
  • Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) and Anti-violence against Women and Children Division (AVAWCD)
  •  Light Rail Transit Authority 
  • QCklista
  •  De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
  •  PARA-Advocates for Inclusive Transport 
  •  Inter-Agency Council on Violence against Women and Their Children (IAC-VAWC)
  • and delegates of VAWC Helpdesks and Barangay Officers from barangays near DLSU: Barangays 708, 709, 713,715, 716, 724, 726, 727, 728, 730, and 755

attended the launch and vibrant discussion about uses and collaborations with SafeHer..

The alpha launch began with a presentation of study findings by Dr. Biana and research associate Rosallia Domingo. They defined urban transit safety for women as a combination of defense mechanisms and collective action, and a situation that demanded collaboration between local transit authorities and local government units. 

They reported that the study led to the SafeHer app concept, which would eventually have the following features: 

  • AI-powered SOS alert
  •  detection of nearby women commuters
  •  sharing of live locations (similar to Grab)
  •  facility for filing a report
  •  user verification
  • optional medical ID.

More information on the launch can be found here

Developer Kevin Lazarito further described and demonstrated the main security features, categorized as AI-powered:

  •  the ability to detect a scream or crash
  •  trigger security protocol 
  • connect with emergency contacts and/or government hotlines
  • geolocation – detecting other female commuters who share their location and share live location
  • peer to peer – enabling reporting of incidents to authorities, employing invite-only app access, utilizing medical ID when in need of emergency assistance.

Deeply relevant questions raised by representatives as future collaborators were addressed by the team and involved possible connections between the app and RA 11313 (the “Bawal Bastos” law); issues of connectivity particularly with regard to safe routes; the effectivity of the app when users run out of data; projections for the app in the next five years and what will make it sustainable; whether the app is applicable for men and for children; and compatibility of the app with older model mobile phones.

All in all a wonderful alpha launch that has resulted in conversations with many of the authorities and collaborations on  Memos of Understanding to help promote and deploy the SafeHer app.

You can read the paper here