New app to improve safety of walkers in vulnerable situations

A Scottish taxi boss and a programmer have teamed up to develop a new initiative to improve the safety of anyone who is forced to walk home alone, especially at night.

Mark Dowie
Saturday, 21st January 2023, 7:00am
New app to improve safety of walkers in vulnerable situations

And SafeWalk is now due to be rolled out across the country.

The free app allows people to share details of their movements with friends or family in real-time and includes an inbuilt SOS button to summon help immediately if something goes wrong.

Easy to use, it can be downloaded from, and has been devised by Dr Mostafa Moghisi and Gavin Johnston in response to the nationwide shortage of cab drivers which has forced many people to walk home alone at night.

Gavin has more than 30 years’ experience running cabs in Aberdeen and Inverness and said that problems have arisen nationwide.

He said: “There’s a shortage of around 170,000 of taxi drivers across the UK, forcing taxi companies to let people down. With no cars available, and recent problems with public transport, a lot of people have had to find other ways to get home, even if it means walking alone in the dark or excepting lifts from strangers.”

SafeWalk allows users to enter a destination, time of departure and share details of their route with contacts in their smartphone directory, who can watch the journey on a map in real-time. Should the user deviate from the route, stop too long or fail to reach their destination within the estimated time, all the selected contacts are alerted that something is wrong.

Research by Stop Violence Against Women found 50% of women in the UK felt unsafe walking alone after dark and 29% complained of having felt like they were being followed. It also found that as many as one in five men felt unsafe on the streets at night and that disabled people felt less safe walking alone in all settings.

Dr. Mostafa, who has been writing logistical programs for the taxi industry for over 30 years, said he could see SafeWalk being of interest to lots of people

He continued: “It could be used by dog walkers, cyclists, joggers or anyone who feels uneasy at being out and about on their own. We’ve even had parents who like the idea of using the app as an added safety measure for their children walking home from school or an activity.”

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