NEWS - 2023/06/22

FOLLOW, A Project to Develop a Route Planner for Walking for People With Reduced Mobility


The World Health Organization warns that a quarter of the world’s population is sedentary,putting at risk both their physical health (high risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer) and their mental health (25% higher likelihood of developing depression). According to the Walk21 Foundation, accessibility and safety are among the most influential deterrents for walking. Footfall is affected by unfriendly sidewalks; for instance, the presence of obstructions such as potholes or tree branches may lead sidewalks to be less used.

FOLLOW reduces these barriers to walking by offering users the safest, most accessible, and most comfortable routes. The app maps the obstacles on the routes through a collaborative approach with the users, asking them to take pictures of these for the technology to trace them. Afterwards, it redirects the users to the best route.

This project aims to encourage active mobility, improving the physical and mental health of the users. It also integrates the vulnerable groups it targets into society by facilitating their walking trips, enhancing their well-being and quality of life. The project also improves future mobility, by creating knowledge for city planners regarding walking mobility behaviour and citizens’ acceptance of journey planner tools. This will help bridge the knowledge gap in the field of inclusive active mobility at a European scale.

In 2023, CARNET initiated the development of the project app through a citizen engagement process in Brest and Dublin, in collaboration with Streetco, Instant System and Technical University of Eindhoven. Target users will then test the app in both cities, providing valuable feedback to help finalise the product. The FOLLOW app will provide its users with a convenient tool to plan their walks, ensuring they have a safe, accessible, and comfortable route. Its impact will be focused on two cities in its first year and then have the potential to grow in the following years, making a significant impact on inclusive active mobility and improve the lives of vulnerable individuals.

CARNET leads the FOLLOW project, co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility (an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union), and developed in collaboration with Brest Métropole, Dublin City Council, Streetco, Instant System, and Technical University of Eindhoven.