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September 2022, the ’Belgian Traffic Institute’ disclosed a shocking road safety figure: the number of pedestrians who died in a road traffic accident increased by 169%. Let that sink in… 169%. The main reason? Too many unsafe crosswalks. So, the challenge was clear: the faster we can identify those unsafe crosswalks, the more rapidly we can pressure the authorities to make them safer and decrease the number of fatalities. Which is why ‘Parents of Road Victims’, Belgium’s most influential road safety organisation, decided to use the power of ‘citizen science’ to accelerate pedestrian road safety.

Important information: crossing a street can be too unsafe for many different reasons: the lack of a crosswalk, excessive speed, insufficient lighting, poorly marked crosswalk, poorly maintained, etc.


‘SafeCrossing’ is a web-app that activates all Belgians to voluntarily help identify unsafe crosswalks. The app uses Google street view as a primary layer. On that layer, by placing a digital crosswalk, everybody could indicate what they perceive to be a pedestrian danger spot. As the crosswalk is digitally placed, the algorithm detects boundaries, and a custom tool allows users to position it in the right perspective. After that, the public could also indicate what exactly needs to be addressed at that specific spot. Try it: (you can only indicate places in Belgium)


Important note, not explained in the case: all digitally placed crosswalks are made from names of real children who died in an accident while crossing the street. The names of those children were a symbolically strong part used to call out Belgians to participate. Check here for more context:


‘Safecrossing’ is an obvious example of Citizen science and participation. In this case to accelerate pedestrian road safety, by empowering all Belgians to voluntarily help collect data (via ) about where crossing could and should be safer. Delivering a huge data contribution and offering thousands of new insights about pedestrian danger spots. Afterwards, the objectivation and standardization of all subjective public data, was processed by the Belgian Traffic Institute (VIAS). From the thousands of trouble spots, they determined which spots scored the highest on pedestrian road safety risk, by giving each pain point a radius, a weight and a score, to come to a classification in order of priority. All that objectified data is now being compiled and grouped by municipality to be handed over to the local authorities, so that they know exactly what to do where, to improve pedestrian road safety.


September 2022, Citizens were called out to participate across many different channels. Including film, social and real-life crosswalks made with real names of children that died while crossing the street, applied to the exact location where it happened.

January 2023, all voluntarily gathered subjective public data gathered on the web-app ‘Safecrossing’ (over 6000 danger points) was handed over to the Belgian Traffic institute, that analyzed and processed thousands of pedestrian pain points.

April 2023, from thousands of pain points, all objectified data is now classified in order of priority and is compiled (1321 objective danger points) and grouped by municipality. The handing over to the local authorities for mandatory implementation has now begun and will be ended by July 2023.


Safecrossing is now a model example of a hugely successful mobile use of public participation in research and the collection of important data, in this case to accelerate pedestrian road safety. In less than 3 months, thousands of pedestrian - subjective - danger spots were indicated by Belgian citizens. In the following 3 months this crowdsourced database was analyzed and processed by the Belgian Traffic Institute, who in April 2023 compiled and grouped 1321 objectified pedestrian danger spots, in order of priority and by Municipality, that is now being handed over to the local authorities, for mandatory implementation.

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