THE APP FOR PEDESTRIANS
PedApp is a phone application that would guide people commuting on foot in São Paulo while helping the city maintain the walking infrastructure. This project was crated as an assignment for TechniCity, an online course offered by Ohio State University, completed with Distinction.
São Paulo, Brazil
Gabriela Callejas – Ohio State University
Recent survey in São Paulo (Mobility Survey, “Origem e Destino”, 2007) shows that 30% of all commutes in the city are done walking – other 30% by public transport and 30% on private vehicles. Detailed data on this shows that most commutes by foot are done to school – meaning children have to deal with poor infrastructure daily – and suggests that short trips done by bus or cars could be replaced by foot transit, if sidewalks were attractive.
Sidewalks conditions in São Paulo are really below acceptable and since so many people commute by foot, the city should be investing more on walking infrastructure. Currently, in most cases, property owners are the ones in charge of building and maintaining sidewalks. However, for the past few years, there had been constant debates on whether the City should have this responsibility. Considering that 30% trips are done by foot (and thinking about how much investment is done on public transport and roads improvements), the Municipality should be responsible for implementing new standards and upgrading existing sidewalks. Moreover, the walking infrastructure is influenced by a large number of different stakeholders, from service providers to transit agencies. Therefore, planning, building, financing and maintaining the elements of the pedestrian network should be a comprehensive effort, led by the City.
As a response to these pressing issues, PedApp was designed as a tool to measure sidewalks quality in São Paulo, while helping street users to move around the city on foot. It creates, at the same time, a bottom-up and a top-down map, since it would be updated by both community and the City. On one hand, PedApp functions as a surveillance tool for public agencies, where all stakeholders could demand and follow-up on city works for improving the infrastructure. On the other hand, by using city data, the app could offer the safest, most accessible, comfortable and attractive routes by foot, based on each unique user´s profile.