Walking alone, especially at night, puts students at risk. At Northwestern University, many crime alerts are associated with people walking alone. Existing safety measures are in place, but there is still potential to improve student safety on campus at night.

GroupWalk icon


The design team developed GroupWalk, a mobile application that helps students connect so they can coordinate walking groups for increased safety while on campus.

Development Process

  1. Team members observed students and researched campus safety and crime patterns over a six month period. The team noticed that students almost always use their cell phones when walking and tend to walk alone.
  2. Team members noted how dependent students are on their phones to locate friends. This provided a key breakthrough: create a mobile application that makes it easier to coordinate with friends for improved safety when walking.
  3. The team went through various prototypes and models during a user testing phase. A minimum viable product was developed based on user feedback.
  4. GroupWalk entered the development phase. The team paired with Breakthrough Technologies in Evanston, Illinois, to help program the application.


GroupWalk on mobile phones

Northwestern News Network: Group-Walk App

ABC 7 News: Chicago college campuses improve security

The Daily Northwestern: Design for America students develop campus safety app

More Information

GroupWalk Presentation