WALKit is an interactive web-based map that can help users locate traffic signals and signs, pedestrian buttons and signs, and crosswalks for people to plan potential routes for daily activities.
The project was made possible through a grant for seniors called the Surrey Intercultural Seniors Social Inclusion Partnership Network, says Sahra-Lea Tosdevine-Tataryn, age-friendly strategy for seniors and the project manager.
“Our [geographic information systems] team worked with a lot of mapping and cosmos and other tools that they use to pull this together with all of their resources and expertise.”
“The intent is to encourage and support seniors’ mobility in their neighbourhood and in their community. Whether they want to go to the grocery store, to the doctors, to the local recreation center, this WALKit web map is a tool piloted to provide seniors or anyone to determine what’s the best route for them when they’re going out in their neighbourhood,” Tosdevine-Tataryn says.
She adds that it’s meant to be helpful for active transportation like walking or wheeling instead of driving.
Tosdevine-Tataryn says the project was introduced in 2019 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The city surveyed seniors for their feedback in 2020, and it wasn’t until this year that they started implementing material.
“I think the challenge with the pandemic was not being able to connect with people in person. The success is through our community-based partnerships that we have with all the partners, the organizations, and agencies in our community,” she says.
This is an early map version, and the city will continue to gather feedback on ways they can improve the map. The city has funding for the project until the end of March 2022.
“On the map, there’s an opportunity for people to give feedback right back to the city. So, for example, if you go on a route and let’s say somebody’s out and they’re walking, and then they see something needs fixing, they can report it through the WALKit map, which will report it to the city and that helps our city respond,” says Tosdevine-Tataryn.
“It’s all good because it helps to always have feedback from our community and continue to improve.”
“It doesn’t have to be seniors using it. Anyone can try it out. We want to hear what the feedback is so we can make modifications,” says Tosdevine-Tataryn.