Traffic safety impacts of sustainable transport policies
Traffic safety improvements are an often-overlooked benefit of sustainable transport projects and policies. New research from EMBARQ finds that investments in biking and pedestrian infrastructure, improved mass transit systems, and measures to limit motor vehicle usage can all significantly...
WRI India’s mission is to go beyond research to put ideas into action, and work with governments, business, and civil society to build transformative solutions that protect the earth and improve people’s lives.
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.
Transportation is quite literally the engine of economic growth in large congested cities throughout the developing world. EMBARQ – the WRI Center for Sustainable Transport – is working to bring cleaner, more efficient transportation systems to these cities. With assistance from EMBARQ and other national and international organizations, India’s Ministry of Urban Development is implementing the country’s first-ever national urban transportation policies. Cities and states that adopt the policies become eligible for financial assistance from a new $11 billion government program, Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, to support sustainable transport projects. The policies are a significant step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving India’s vision of making its cities the most productive and livable in the world.
The ancient metropolis of Istanbul is now a sprawling megacity, struggling with
congestion, air pollution, and the submergence of its cultural heritage beneath
new overpasses and car infrastructure.
EMBARQ – The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport –
introduced Istanbul transportation officials to the concept of bus rapid transit
(BRT) five years ago. A first line opened on the European side of the city in 2007,
and is now one of the most heavily traveled BRT lines in the world. In March 2009,
the city unveiled the world’s first inter-continental BRT corridor across the famous
Bosphorus Bridge, a major bottleneck for travelers between Europe and Asia.
EMBARQ developed the plan in coordination with city officials, conducted travel
demand studies, and recommended the particular routing and station locations that
ultimately were built. At each step, EMBARQ provided critical technical assistance
to enable the project to move forward. “Crossing the bridge by car takes as long as
3 hours, but commuters using BRT now cross in about 30 minutes and produce
95% fewer CO2 emissions than drivers,” says Sibel Bulay, director of the
EMBARQ Network’s Center for Sustainable Transport in Turkey. “It is a very
visible symbol of the city’s commitment to sustainable transit solutions.”
In March 2009, Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, unveiled a new bus
rapid transit (BRT) system. The 27-station, 16-km system services 130,000
passengers per day and feeds into light rail and other bus services, with fully
integrated fares. The project has reduced travel time by 30 percent and is
expected to cut the city’s (CO2) emissions by 36,000 metric tons per year,
equivalent to removing about 7,000 cars from the roads.
“It’s the first phase of an ambitious plan to transform the entire transit system in
this city of four million,” says EMBARQ’s Adriana Lobo. EMBARQ – The
World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport – and its allied
Center for Sustainable Transport in Mexico conceived the project, delivered
financing, and helped restructure the entire feeder bus system. “EMBARQ,”
explains Lobo, “in effect, served as an extension of city staff to lead the design
and implementation of the project.”
By working with cities around the world to improve their transportation,
EMBARQ seeks to make cities clean, livable, and prosperous. Since 2002, the
EMBARQ Network has expanded into seven countries and employs more than
60 experts in fields ranging from urban planning to air quality management, and
from geography and sociology to civil and transport engineering.