Together with government authorities and partners, WRI Mexico successfully drove Mexico to declare safe mobility a constitutional human right. This new amendment will benefit all Mexican citizens and opens the door for a new mobility and road safety bill.

The Challenge

Since 2012, WRI and more than 40 social, technical and activist organizations have urged Mexico to adopt more policies, laws and national rights to promote and improve public mobility. However, despite efforts to reduce traffic fatalities, the number of deaths on Mexico's roads have remained relatively the same over the past decade; according to the World Health Organization, the estimated number of people who die annual in traffic accidents in Mexico remained over 16,000 between 2010 and 2019.

The creation of mobility as a constitutional human right – with an emphasis on sustainability, safety, accessibility and inclusion – is an opportunity to strengthen and redesign the legal and institutional framework for mobility management. However, the dispersed nature of Mexico’s federal government makes prioritizing mobility and road safety challenging. The levels of government responsible for planning, designing, awarding, constructing and operating Mexico’s transportation systems need to work together more effectively, and their roles must be clarified.

WRI’s Role

Since 2012, WRI Mexico has been working with government authorities to establish a legal framework for a national mobility policy. WRI Mexico completed an analysis on mobility and road safety financing mechanisms, studied the legal and constitutional feasibility of a road safety initiative, and led communications campaigns and workshops. These all pushed federal legislators to view mobility and road safety as a priority.

Recently, WRI Mexico promoted agreements between federal government institutions, legislators from various political parties, local mobility authorities, and civil organizations to establish guidelines to develop the General Law on Mobility and Road Safety. These guidelines, in turn, will simplify, strengthen and redesign Mexico’s legal and institutional framework for mobility management, as well as improve coordination of road safety efforts at all three levels of government.

The Outcome

On October 14, 2020, the country’s Chamber of Deputies unanimously voted in favor of adding an amendment to Mexico’s constitution. It reads: “Every person has the right to mobility under conditions of safety, accessibility, efficiency, sustainability, quality, inclusion and equality.” On December 18, 2020, the constitutional reform was officially approved and published when 23 out of 32 local congresses unanimously ratified the change.

Within six months of the amendment’s ratification, the Federal Congress is required to approve a General Law on Mobility and Road Safety, which WRI Mexico is supporting. This law would clarify roles and responsibilities within the government, better distribute funding for mobility projects, and create a unified database for the administration of licenses, plates and fines. The constitutional right to mobility will ensure all Mexican people have access to safe roads, helping drastically reduce the number of tragic road deaths throughout the country.