Reinventing Safe School Journeys
Through Community Trust and Technology

Our  lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, with more than a third of children leaving primary school either overweight or obese .The simple act of walking to school would help children stay active and healthy. But with busy lives,not every parent has time to walk with their child anymore. Less than half the children in the UK still actively to school,

Walkme, is a community-organized service that empowers more children to walk to school. It challenges the existing options of either driving children to school or hiring someone to walk them, by leveraging local trust networks combined with smart routing technology. Walkme connects children going to school with trusted companions for a safe and fun journey!

The Walkme service consists of a mobile app for the parents, and safety-wear for the children.  
The gamification in the system designed to keep the experience fun and exciting for everyone involved! Walkme helps nurture a culture of walking and enjoying the benefits of this simple act from a young age, teaches our younger generations to be active in their community and care for their environment.

Service design
Academic project

Research to MVC
Service testing


6 Month


Upon relocating from Jakarta to London, I underwent a transformative shift from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one, prompted by the high costs of transportation. It became evident that in London, walking is not just a means of getting around but a way of life embraced by many, contributing to improved health and overall happiness.

As I embarked on planning my master's thesis, I was driven by a desire to create something meaningful that could encourage more people worldwide to embrace walking. Inspired by my own experiences and observations in London, where walking was not only practical but also enriching, I sought to develop a solution that would promote this simple yet profound act of walking. 

When we are talking about behavioural change, what can be better that starting at young age
By establishing this habit early on, we lay the groundwork for a lifetime of active living and environmental responsibility, making walking an integral and enjoyable aspect of their daily lives.

Our  lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, with more than a third of children leaving primary school either overweight or obese, and fail to meet reccommended level of physical activity. Walking to school would help children stay active and healthy. Now Less than half the children in the UK traveling actively to school.

What's driving this trend? Today, countless busy parents rush to ‘chaffeur’ and drop their children off at school while heading to work, often unaware that many others are opting for more sustainable ways to commute to the same school.


Commencing with a thorough qualitative investigation of the real-life context, encompassing homes and schools, I gathered diverse perspectives from parents, children, school staff, and city planning and data experts to uncover valuable insights. User validation through discussions, ideation sessions, and rapid iterative prototyping has guided the majority of our design decisions.


The complexity of the strategy, scope, structure, and system framework is distilled into its simplest form in "Beyond the Surface," manifested through two key touchpoints: mobile apps and safety wear. Following extensive research, I extracted all insights into two foundational pillars that underpin the entire system: Trust and Fun

Design that secure parental trust.

During registration, each user undergoes rigorous verification, including a detailed background check. Every individual who appears within your circle and is permitted to accompany your child has been approved by you beforehand.

Parents often feel uneasy about their children's photos being used in the app. Meanwhile, children are fond of cute monsters because they appear harmless and encourage positive behaviour on the road.

Previously, the system relied solely on mobile apps. However, many parents expressed concerns about ensuring their children actually meet their designated walker. Simply arriving at the same location does not guarantee a meeting. Even scanning a QR code upon meeting does not ensure they will stay together during the walk.

low-fi demo of the bluetooth beacon

Design that sparks fun of the childern

Wear the wearable 
The Bluetooth beacon represents an opportunity to embrace a more immersive experience. Instead of opting for a keychain or bangle, I decided to embed it within the safety wear. This integration with IoT also sets it apart from any other current solutions in the market.

On one hand, the design enhances visibility and safety. However, more importantly, it aims to create something that people are genuinely excited to wear. By encouraging everyone to wear it together, the object becomes a means of fostering engagement and building a sense of community.

Gamification to boost goal

Each child will receive a score and rewards upon completing specific walks, acknowledging their determination and consistency.

These rewards extend beyond mere visual recognition; they are tangible items that children can display to earn respect from their parents, neighbours, and teachers. Additionally, they will receive a school reward badge that they can proudly display.

The school will provide a database to the platform, opting for the reliable data protection offered by a standard MySQL database. The backend platform, developed with Node.js using JavaScript, integrates Google’s Location APIs framework. This framework offers classes and protocols for configuring and scheduling locations, as well as sending location events to the server. Additionally, it includes mechanisms to accurately determine journey times and meeting points.

I'm utilising Express service for the REST API, combined with Node.js, enabling us to seamlessly manage database operations such as reading, writing, editing, and deleting content. For notifications, Google's push notification services are employed.

In developing the mobile apps, I'm using native Android Studio, facilitating direct access to built-in phone features like GPS, contact lists, and vibration. This approach ensures robust functionality and integration with essential device capabilities.


When testing a new service, we initiate a pilot phase by recruiting families willing to assist in testing the concept. I take on the role of the “walker” who accompanying children to school.

The pilot was run in three different locations across London, with kids at different ages.
The experiment aimed to understand how parents leverage a mobile app to connect with companions for school runs. It also explored how children, while outfitted in safety gear, enjoy walking with friends and earn rewards for completing multiple journeys.

“ Walkme strengthen empathy, solidarity and cooperation among parents and children. Walkme to create safe and caring environments in the for walkable city

Ultimately, Walkme aims to foster a culture of walking and cultivate a generation that embraces the benefits of this simple activity from a young age. The goal is to create a generation less reliant on cars as a crutch, an outdoor generation that is familiar with their surroundings and the people around them. This vision stems from my belief in a future where more people will walk in this world.

When I initially selected children as my target demographic, I underestimated the challenge of finding willing participants due to the protective nature of parents. Securing respondents and testers proved to be a time-consuming task, requiring extensive effort to identify individuals willing to be interviewed and engage in the pilot phase. In hindsight, I realize the importance of building a supportive community network beforehand, as this would have facilitated smoother recruitment and participation processes

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