You are here

health and road safety

As Michael Bloomberg announces a package of assistance on road safety through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Safety Initiative, here is an ugly truth: more people die in road crashes in India than anywhere else in the world.

Designing efficient, low-carbon cities and transport systems can improve health and the climate.

A WRI study shows new bus rapid transit (BRT) projects in Mexico, Colombia, China, India, and South Africa have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 31.4 million tons over the next 20 years. This amount is equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 6.5 million cars.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Pages

Stay Connected