Fast Company's Adele Peters takes a look at a new app that is the newest tool in Oslo's plan to ban cars from its city center within the next three years.
Targeted to children, the new app, called TrafficAgent, gets the city's youngest residents involved in improving the streets by making them virtual "secret agents" who are responsible for reporting dangerous situations. The app maps users' routes as they walk, bike, or ride the bus, helping the city gather data on transportation trends. Much like popular GPS app Waze, users may report positive or negative conditions with just a few swipes.
"We check the map for reports every morning," says the app's creator Vibeke Rørholt. If something doesn't need to go through bureaucratic paperwork—for example, cars are illegally parked—the city sends someone to take care of the issue immediately. "We received a telephone call from the mother of a little boy who had reported some bushes that meant he couldn’t see when he was crossing the street," she says. "And two days later the bushes were cut. She phoned in saying he’s so happy that he could make this happen."