New Program in Mexico City Targets Intersections to Improve Road Safety
According to the World Health Organization, road traffic injuries are expected to become the seventh leading cause of death globally by 2030. In Mexico City, traffic collisions were responsible for 954 deaths in 2012. Road safety continues to be a pressing challenge for Mexico City, particularly considering that the city’s rate of vehicle ownership grows at 4.2 percent annually.
Pushing back on this trend, Mexico City’s government announced on Monday, August 31 the launch of a new program, called “Safe Steps”, which will facilitate a redesign of the city’s 54 most dangerous intersections for pedestrians. At the request of the city’s Public Space Authority, our EMBARQ sustainable urban mobility in team in Mexico has been involved with several important activities in support of the program. By focusing on road safety in these critical areas, Safe Steps is the current government’s next step toward making Mexico City more people-centered and safe for its most vulnerable residents.
Saving Lives by Changing Design, Regulations, and Perceptions
Mexico City’s government originally proposed the Safe Steps program in 2014. Out of the 8,000 intersections across the city, Ministry of Public Security identified the 54 intersections with the highest rate of reported pedestrian collisions in 2013. These 54 intersections alone accounted for 75.5 percent of traffic crashes in the entire city. Safe Steps brings together several actors for the planning, management, and implementation of the intersection redesigns, including the Ministry of Infrastructure and Services, the Public Space Authority and the Ministry of Public Security.
The EMBARQ team in Mexico’s contribution to Safe Steps includes three major components: a survey assessing pedestrians’, cyclists’, and drivers’ road safety needs; a report and presentation of the findings; and training for traffic officers. Building on the team’s work with Mexico City’s government in 2014 to enact the Mobility Law, these collaborative activities represent a new step in the city’s commitment to prioritizing people over cars.
Having completed the perceptions survey and presented the findings to the Public Space Authority, the team in Mexico is now collaborating with the Ministry of Public Security on capacity building workshops for traffic officers. Many officers are accustomed to thinking about the needs of cars over pedestrians, and the first workshop two weeks ago trained officers how to operate with a “Safe Steps” mentality and address the needs of pedestrians over cars. Given the success of the first workshop, additional trainings are in development to make intersections across the city safer for all.
About EMBARQ at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, Sustainable Urban Mobility by WRI, catalyzes and helps implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve quality of life in cities.