‘Safety First’ for public transport and urban development in Mexico
Mexico has the eighth highest rate of traffic crashes in the world, with more than 406,000 collisions resulting in 15,856 deaths and 350,000 hospitalizations each year. Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death in the country for people between five and 35 years old, and burden taxpayers with a social cost of almost US$8 million—more than 1.5 percent of Mexico’s entire 2014 GDP. In Mexico City alone, the number of traffic deaths each year is staggering.
Private cars are responsible for almost 75 percent of all crashes. Public transport accounts for less than 15 percent, despite accounting for approximately 60 percent of all trips within Mexico City. The city’s mass transport system provides mobility options to over four million people every day, with nearly one million of those on the Metrobús bus rapid transit (BRT) system. Given the sizable role Metrobús plays in residents’ daily lives, EMBARQ Mexico is working in collaboration with FedEx to develop BRT road safety strategies for Mexico City that can also be replicated and adopted in other cities. Through the Safety First project, FedEx and EMBARQ Mexico are reducing traffic crashes while improving urban mobility and accessibility.
Using private sector know-how to strengthen public transport services
Building on FedEx’s expertise in mobility, accessibility, and urban logistics, EMBARQ Mexico’s Comprehensive Road Safety Management Plan is providing BRT employees with safe driver training and developing policies for road safety best practices.
The program consists of three components: 1) a defensive driving course for BRT drivers based on FedEx’s own driver safety curriculum, 2) a study to assess BRT road safety policies across Latin America, and 3) a comprehensive road safety management policy for BRT systems in Mexico. When Metrobús replaced its previous fleet of buses, many of the original drivers had difficulties adapting to the larger buses and segregated bus lanes. In order to address safety challenges following the change, EMBARQ Mexico’s defensive driving course teaches drivers how to recognize and properly respond to risky situations. The course also focuses on responsible driving behavior, and concludes with a driving test for participants to demonstrate their capacity to handle different traffic scenarios.
Creating an impact across Latin America
Over 1,000 bus operators have completed the safety course, including all BRT drivers in both Mexico City and Guadalajara, which together serve 1.1 million passengers per day. The number of collisions and crashes has dropped dramatically in both cities. Additionally, 60 Latin American cities have adopted and replicated the Comprehensive Road Safety Plan, with the aim of establishing a standardized methodology for driver training among all Latin American Association for Integrated Transport and BRT (SIBRT) members.
The video below highlights the approach and achievements of FedEx and EMBARQ’s joint work in Mexico City:
The program is having an impact beyond public transport, as efficient and safe bus driving has helped to reduce road collisions for all motorists and organize traffic flows on roads where private cars are predominant.
Recently, EMBARQ Mexico participated in a forum called “The Importance of Responsible Driving” to discuss the Safety First approach. Speakers included Saúl Alveano, expert on road safety and accessibility at EMBARQ Mexico; Xavier Treviño, Director of ITDP México; Montserrat Naváez from Mexico Previene; Antonio Arreola from Grupo Peñasco; Deputy Claudia Cortés, President of the mobility commission at the VI Legislative Assembly; and Francisco García, Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Education and Health of the Public Transport Operators in Mexico City. The panel agreed that cities are changing globally, and that sustainable urban development requires a culture of respect for all people—particularly vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists.
Rather than penalizing drivers for the effects of widespread car dependency, cities need to retrain them to make sustainable transport options safe and viable. The collaboration between FedEx and EMBARQ Mexico seeks to do exactly that.
Learn more about FedEx and EMBARQ Mexico’s work making safe, sustainable transport a reality in Mexico City on Access: An exchange for the best thinking on global opportunity