Road traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death globally for young people aged 5 to 29 and the eighth leading cause of death overall. Worldwide, traffic crashes result in 1.35 million deaths annually, with numbers rising every year.

Over 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. More than half are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. As rapidly growing cities provide more opportunities to more people, prioritizing the movement of vehicles over people has increased the risk of death or injury, as well as fueled air pollution and traffic congestion.

There’s a better way. Through a “Safe System” approach that places people at the heart of urban design, urban mobility can be safe, equitable and sustainable.

WRI's Health & Road Safety team works with cities, national governments and partners around the world to facilitate street designs that protect all road users, especially children, pedestrians and bicyclists.

By reducing the need for car travel, setting safe speeds, and moving people through safely designed infrastructure and mass transport, WRI works to prevent traffic crashes, encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce air pollution. The results save lives and help to advance a greener, healthier future.

From the local to international level, WRI supports decision-makers with high-quality research, analysis and technical guidance on policies and projects to redesign streets and public spaces, expand safe and low-carbon mobility options, and improve mass transit.


The Health & Road Safety team works across six primary areas:

1. Comprehensive Policy Development and Planning

WRI works to influence both national and local policies on road safety and active mobility to develop both overarching strategies and targeted action plans. We also help city officials to identify and review their local road safety policies.

2. Speed Management

Small reductions in speed can drastically lower the likelihood and severity of a crash. WRI works with cities to set safe speed limits, redesign road infrastructure, build technical capacity, and develop strategic programs, plans and policies.

3. Road Safety Analysis & Infrastructure Improvement

WRI works with cities to redesign roads and intersections that are hotspots for crashes. WRI also supports cities with data analysis, road safety audits and inspections to diagnose road safety issues, identify problem areas and provide design recommendations.

4. Design Guidelines and Research

WRI provides city planners and key stakeholders with tools and guidance to implement a safe mobility system, from bike lanes to pedestrian walkways to low-speed zones. WRI’s research and design guidelines foster solutions that lead to fewer traffic crashes, more physically active residents and less air pollution.

5. Workshops and Capacity-building

We scale our work for long-term impact by building and strengthening the capacity of decision-makers, city agencies, and other stakeholders to design and implement local solutions. WRI develops workshops, toolkits and on-the-ground training to provide knowledge that can be applied in the field.

6. Stakeholder and Public Engagement

WRI works to ensure all road users, especially the most vulnerable and underserved, are included in street design initiatives. We support public engagement so that communities feel empowered to achieve long-term, sustainable outcomes on road safety and transport planning.