Friday, April 5, 2013

The Future of Urban Roads - Safe, Healthy?

Our Approach to Health and Road Safety(20 page pdf, EMBARQ)

Also discussed here: More Urbanites, More Cars: The Challenge of Urban Road Safety and Health(Claudia Adriazola and Benoit Colin, WRI Insights, Feb. 21, 2013)

And here: What's Next for Sustainable Transport in Cities?(EMBARQ, Jan 31, 2013)

Today we review a report from EMBARQ, a leading advocate for urban mobility, which examined the growth of vehicles in cities and what this means for the future in terms of health and road safety. Among some of the statistics presented is the link between the distance driven each year and road deaths by vehicles- the death rate per 100,000 inhabitants grows sixfold (from 5 to 30) as the distance driven increases from 15 miles/day to 50. If ways can be found to reduce car dependence by making transit cycling and walking more attractive, there would be fewer deaths and cleaner, healthier cities. miles driven and deaths  

Key Quotes:

“with increased urbanization and motorization, road fatalities are expected to become the fifth-leading cause of death by 2030”

“1.2 million people die every year in traffic crashes worldwide and 90 percent of deaths happen in low and middle-income countries. Almost half of these deaths are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists”

“By 2050, 70 percent of people are expected to live in cities. At the same time, the number of cars – too often a symbol of individual success – is set to hit 2 billion worldwide by 2020 if we stay on a business-as-usual track.”

“We have to start looking at other ways to move people. Traffic does hurt your economy,”[Mayor Bloomberg, Jan 18, 2013] “When cities grow horizontally, commuting distances lengthen, subsequently increasing traffic fatalities (among other unfortunate effects like air pollution, loss of physical activity, and congestion). Cities need to stay compact and people-oriented rather than car-oriented. “

“According to the World Health Organization, 1.3 million deaths occur each year from the effects of urban outdoor air pollution, with vehicles being one of the major emitters of deadly pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5).”

 “EMBARQ is conducting health impact assessments on several projects around the world, that can lead to solutions in fostering fewer traffic crashes, physically active residents and reduced air pollution.”

“[in New York City]After the conversion to a pedestrian plaza, NO pollution levels in Times Square went down by 63 percent, while NO2 levels went down by 41 percent.”
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