Safer, low carbon, cities on 2015 agenda
A revolution to deliver safer, low-carbon, mobility in cities was the theme of this year’s ‘Transforming Transportation’ conference hosted by the World Bank and EMBARQ.
Felipe Calderón, former President of Mexico, emphasised the rapid urbanisation taking place in developing countries as he presented the ‘New Climate Economy’ report from the Global Commission on the Economy & Climate. The Commission, chaired by Mr Calderón argues for a focus on land-use planning to create denser, less car dependent, cities. Mr Calderón highlighted two cities, Atlanta and Barcelona, with similar populations but dramatically different land-use, transport and carbon footprints. The New Climate Economy report’s recommendations include reducing urban sprawl in order to tackle CO2 emissions, improve air quality and reduce road traffic injuries; improving fuel efficiency of vehicles; and investing in public transportation. Speaking in a panel session the World Bank’s Climate Change Envoy, Vice President Rachel Kyte, argued that policies and measures to encourage low-carbon mobility and lifestyles need not be a ‘zero-sum game’ and public support for action could be built by stressing improvements in quality of life and economic opportunities as well as the moral case for tackling climate change to safeguard future generations.
Opening the conference, both Pierre Guislan, Global Practice Director for Transport at the World Bank, and Andrew Steer, President of the World Resources Institute, stressed the importance of including transport within the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be agreed this year. Mr Guislan highlighted the inclusion of a road safety target in the draft SDGs as a valuable step forward.
Road safety was also on the agenda of Transforming Transportation. The FIA Foundation’s Director General, Saul Billingsley, joined Bloomberg Associates Principal Janette Sadik-Kahn; Prof. Mark Stevenson of Monash University; Claudia Adriazola, Director of Road Safety for EMBARQ; and Deborah Carvalho-Malta of Brazil’s Ministry of Health, in a panel session to discuss the Decade of Action and strategies for safer streets. In her opening presentation Janette Sadik-Kahn (see main photo above) described the approach of New York City in re-assigning road space to pedestrians and cyclists in order to encourage non-motorised mobility and drive down road traffic casualties amongst vulnerable road users, and surveyed the increasing number of cities around the world that are implementing pedestrian and cyclist strategies. The panel discussed the need for increased catalytic funding to support countries (and cities) in low and middle-income countries to develop road safety programmes, and highlighted the importance of a strong civil society voice in creating demand for change.
(Photos courtesy of EMBARQ.)