Mumbai one of ten cities selected for global campaign to save lives in major cities
On February 17, 2015, Michael R. Bloomberg, the 108th Mayor of New York City, met with Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Maharashtra, and other senior ministers to formally announce that Bloomberg Philanthropies will invest in Mumbai—together with nine other world cities—to improve road safety. EMBARQ India Director Madhav Pai and Urban Transport Manager Binoy Mascarenhas were present at the meeting, as well, underscoring EMBARQ’s role as a key partner in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ road safety work in India since 2010.
With nearly 20 million residents, Mumbai experiences approximately 500 traffic fatalities and over 2,000 serious injuries every year. The partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Mumbai city government creates many opportunities for EMBARQ India to strengthen its work in the city and advance national road safety legislation that saves lives. 86 percent of Mumbai residents commute by train, bus, taxis, rickshaw, or bicycle, and face unsafe streets every day. Together, Bloomberg Philanthropies and EMBARQ India can address their challenges and provide valuable insights for other rapidly urbanizing areas across India that grapple with road safety.
Making safety a pillar of sustainability in Indian cities
Addressing road safety challenges requires a multi-faceted approach. EMBARQ India works to make cities safer by design through its work on the ground, the tools and resources it offers city leaders, and its influence on national policy.
In partnership with a variety of stakeholders from civil society, EMBARQ India’s open streets initiative currently operates in more than seven cities (known as Raahgiri Day, Equal Streets, or Happy Streets depending on the city) and draws 150,000 people to participate in car-free Sundays each week. The initiative’s main focus is on making streets safer, and it also improves air quality and makes non-motorized transport a mainstay of city life.
In addition, EMBARQ India’s Safe Access Manual outlines how city planners can make mass transit stations in cities safer and more accessible through urban design. EMBARQ India has worked closely with a number of cities—including Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hubli-Dharwad, and more—to help develop and implement station accessibility plans that focus on safety.
Lastly, India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is currently developing a new Road Transport and Safety Bill, which would replace the country’s existing Motor Vehicle Act of 1988. The national impacts of the bill are expected to include saving 200,000 lives in five years, growing national GDP by 4 percent, and creating one million jobs through increased investment in the transport sector.