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Blog Posts: health and road safety

  • People-Oriented Cities: Designing Walkable, Bikeable Neighborhoods

    While the vast majority of citizens in developing cities don’t own cars, infrastructure is still being designed and financed to support motor vehicle travel. In Mexico, for example, less than one-third of urban trips are made in cars, but three-quarters of the federal mobility budget is allocated to highways.

    It’s time for the world’s cities to start thinking about moving people rather than moving cars.

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  • Demystifying Transit-Oriented Development

    To help city leaders shift to a planning paradigm that creates more compact neighborhoods and sustainable cities, EMBARQ has released a Transit-oriented Development Guide for Urban Communities.

    The guide combines best practices from existing communities and design guidelines for creating healthy, sustainable, people-oriented cities.

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  • World Urban Forum Highlights Opportunities for Sustainable Cities

    Well-designed cities can generate jobs, innovation, and economic growth for all. But when designed poorly—with too much sprawl, waste, and inefficiency—they can divide urban centers and exacerbate pollution, inequality, and political instability.

    Against this backdrop, some 25,000 people have gathered in Medellin, Colombia, for the UN Habitat’s World Urban Forum this week. The key question they face: How can cities drive growth that is inclusive and sustainable?

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  • Boom and Bus: How Public Transport Can Curb Road Deaths as Our Cities Grow

    The world's cities are about to get a lot busier. Today, more than 50 percent of the global population lives in cities; by 2050, that figure will have risen to 75 percent.

    This mass migration to cities could result in crowded streets rife with air pollution, traffic accidents and congestion. Or it could see a boom in clean, compact urban centres with safe, healthy communities. The way the world's cities operate in the future will be shaped by how they are designed and developed now.

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  • 5 Keys to Sustainable Development in Indian Cities

    Indian cities are urbanizing at an unprecedented scale and pace. Over the next few decades, India’s urban population is expected to increase significantly, from 377 million in 2011 to 590 million by 2030.

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  • Connecting Sustainable Transport to Urban Development in India

    This post also appears on TheCityFix.com.

    In 2011, nearly 350 million people lived in Indian cities. More than 300 million new residents will join them over the next few decades to become part of the new urban India. This population boom will stress an already-pressured urban infrastructure system, especially with regard to transportation.

    Indeed, Indian cities have become synonymous with congestion, noise, and air pollution. Each year, 135,000 people die in traffic crashes on Indian roads. Currently, India has 120 million vehicles, a number that is steadily growing. In 2010, outdoor air pollution contributed to more than 620,000 premature deaths. Plus, urban transport’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase almost seven-fold in the next 20 years.

    This trend is clearly not sustainable if India’s city residents want to have any sort of quality of life in the future. In order to reverse course, the country must begin scaling sustainable transport and ensuring that it is integrated with land development. This is a topic we’ll discuss extensively during next week’s CONNECTKaro, a sustainable transport and urban development conference co-hosted by EMBARQ India, WRI’s center for sustainable transport in India.

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  • More Urbanites, More Cars: The Challenge of Urban Road Safety and Health

    This post originally appeared on TheCityFix.com.

    As more and more people move into cities, more cars are also hitting the streets. These vehicles not only spew greenhouse gas emissions, they can cause urban traffic fatalities. We already see 1.2 million traffic-related deaths per year worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, with increased urbanization and motorization, road fatalities are expected to become the fifth-leading cause of death by 2030.

    What are some of the key drivers of urban traffic fatalities? What can be done to reduce fatalities through sustainable urban development and sustainable urban mobility? What are successful examples of projects to reduce road fatalities in cities?

    At the invitation of The Brookings Institution and the FIA Foundation, Holger Dalkmann, Director of WRI’s EMBARQ Center for Sustainable Transport, and Claudia Adriazola-Steil, EMBARQ Director of the Health & Road Safety Program, highlighted last week in Washington, DC some key findings and actions to reduce urban traffic fatalities. Here are some highlights:

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  • 4 Big Ideas to Revolutionize Transportation

    Two leaders on urban development recently came together on the same stage: Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    Kim, president of the World Bank, and Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, headlined a panel at the Transforming Transportation conference, an event co-organized by the World Bank and WRI’s EMBARQ Center for Sustainable Transport. Through a discussion moderated by Zanny Minton Beddoes, an editor at The Economist, and closed by WRI’s president, Dr. Andrew Steer, Kim and Bloomberg took on the meaty topic of how to shape the future of urban transport.

    It was an interesting pairing of perspectives. Bloomberg is a leader in business, government, and philanthropy who has had an enormous impact on New York City. Kim brings a public health and international perspective, and now, at the World Bank, focuses on advancing the goal of reducing poverty and boosting “shared prosperity” across the globe. Despite their different backgrounds, the two shared the idea that sustainable transport goes beyond moving vehicles and infrastructure. At its core, transportation is about improving the health and quality of life for people.

    A Critical Moment for Sustainable Transport

    As both Kim and Bloomberg noted, the world is moving unsustainably—literally. About 1.3 million people die every year as a result of traffic accidents. In most cities, motorized transport is responsible for 80 percent of local air pollution. And with 70 percent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050, these urban problems are likely to worsen.

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