Norway's Oslo making roads safer with new app


It's hard to argue that phone apps haven't changed our habits for better or worse - Facebook, Twitter, even Pokemon Go has its place.

But one company in Norway is using children's obsession with gadgets to potentially save lives.

'Traffic Agent' is an app that lets school children report safety issues as they walk to school, as part of Oslo's commitment to banning cars from the central city by 2020.

Like most things involving kids, it's hard to keep their attention, so the app is designed as a game.

Children act as secret agents, and when they see things on the road, they can report it to the 'headquarters'.

The city then works to fix problems quickly. That might be removing obstructions, building paths, or adjusting sidewalks.

So what's available in New Zealand? Well, it turns out we have our own safety app in Waikato, entitled 'Reuben the Road Safety Bear'.

These apps are among many that harness the younger generation's fascination with gadgets to make their cities less dangerous around the world.

Pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of traffic-related child deaths in New Zealand - so maybe our digital devices are the key to making it safer for them and the rest of us.