FIA Foundation kicks off 2019 at major DC transportation conferences
Washington, DC hosted two major global transportation conferences with a total of over 10,000 political leaders, academics, private organisations, NGOs, and others. The FIA Foundation and many of its partners participated in both Transforming Transportation and the Transportation Research Board, highlighting Vision Zero for Youth and the Child Health Initiative toolkit, and a call for a UN Summit on Adolescent Health.
At the 98th annual Transportation Research Board meeting, the FIA Foundation hosted a reception to hear leaders discuss Vision Zero for Youth and the Child Health Initiative toolkit. With the recently released WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety showing road traffic crashes as the leading killer of young people over age five in the US and abroad, the focus on youth was timely.
FIA Foundation Executive Director Saul Billingsley said: “The latest WHO data shows that our call for children and young people to be prioritized in urban and transportation planning is urgent. In towns and cities across the world our Child Health Initiative partners are demonstrating that cost-effective solutions are available. Now we need to ally with others who are concerned about child and adolescent health in calling for a UN Summit on Adolescent Health to galvanise action and resources to tackle road traffic safety, air pollution and climate change, and we hope you’ll join at mystreet.org.”
He highlighted the Child Health Initiative toolkit, a collection of sources to create safe and healthy journeys to school. One tool is Vision Zero for Youth, an initiative to demonstrate the safe systems approach on a small scale with cost-effective actions and interim wins. It is backed by 22 leading organizations which form an Advisory Group. Several areas of the US are using Vision Zero for Youth to adopt a wider safe systems approach, and Mexico City was the first city in an emerging economy to implement the initiative. “In Mexico City, our partner ITDP knew that it takes a village to raise a child, and an entire community to protect them. From the principal to the janitors, they involved the whole school community to reduce speeds around a school, through simple cost-effective ways,” said FIA Foundation North American Director and UN Representative, Natalie Draisin (see main image above).
Bogotá, Colombia soon followed as the first South American city to sign on to Vision Zero for Youth. Secretary of Mobility Juan Pablo Bocarejo said, “Since the beginning of our Vision Zero efforts, we have had a target to reach zero fatalities among youth. By working in 2200 school zones, we went from over 40 child road traffic fatalities in 2015, to 11 last year. This past December, we had zero. Our numbers show that when leaders prioritize children, they protect them. This is why Mayor Peñalosa and I echo the Child Health Initiative call for a UN Summit on Adolescent Health.”
The FIA Foundation began Vision Zero for Youth with National Center for Safe Routes to School, represented by the Director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center, Randa Radwan. She said, “Vision Zero for Youth isn’t just about youth – it’s about the community. When we protect our children, everyone benefits. The entire community transforms. We want to help communities around the world replicate and scale up success, which is why we’ve made our resources available online at visionzeroforyouth.org.” Randa was joined by Nancy Pullen Seufert and Lauren Marchetti, Director and former Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, and driving forces behind the initiative.
Natalie Draisin addressed guests. “When I look around the room, I see islands of success. We’re building bridges to connect those islands, fostering cross cultural exchange that scales up what works, and overcomes challenges. Together, we’re moving from islands of success to a sea of change. One great opportunity to strengthen the tide is to participate in Global Road Safety Week – mark your calendars for May 6-12.”
Global Road Safety Week was also emphasized at the TRB Global Road Safety Subcommittee workshop, which convened leading global experts to focus on ‘From Silos to Safe Systems: An Integrated Response to the Global Road Safety Crisis.’ The workshop included presentations from leading experts such as Soames Job, Global Lead of Road Safety, and Head of the Global Road Safety Facility of the World Bank, who said, “Safe systems that rely on people to behave safely are not safe systems. This breeds victim blaming and political handwashing.” David Ward, from Global NCAP, emphasized the role of proper vehicle safety standards in the safe system approach, particularly in the US. “Sadly the US is falling behind on best practice in vehicle safety standards. No plans to apply standards for pedestrian protection, intelligent speed assistance, and relying only on voluntary autonomous emergency braking. A huge contrast with the EU where all will be mandatory within the next few years.”
WRI’s Director of Health and Road Safety, Claudia Adriazola-Steil, added, “More sustainable transport is safer transport. Two general traffic lanes at a peak hour carry 3,194 people and have 726 crashes. One lane of bus rapid transit carries 5,000 people and has six crashes. These numbers speak for themselves.”
The workshop was led by presiding officers Natalie Draisin, Offer Grembek, Co-Director, Safe Transportation Research and Education Canter for University of California at Berkeley, and Kim Kolody Silverman, Global Technology Leader at Jacobs. They developed the workshop with other committee members, including James Bradford, Global Product Director at iRAP, Ankita Chachra, Program Manager at NACTO-GDCI, and Shushanna Mignott, Manager of Global Pedestrian Safety at Safe Kids Worldwide – also Child Health Initiative partners. Experts from the World Bank, WRI, NACTO, Clemson University, NHTSA, Texas A&M, Global NCAP, National Technical University of Athens, EASST, and the Utah Department of Transportation moderated breakout discussions about long-term safety funding, safe policy and legislation, and safe street design.
The conversation continued at Transforming Transportation, hosted at the World Bank with World Resources Institute, and partners FIA Foundation, IDB, ITDP, SLoCaT, and AFDB. At a panel, ‘Unlocking New Mobility to Reach the 2030 Road Safety Goals’, facilitated by Nhan Tran, Unintentional Injury Prevention Coordinator at the World Health Organization, Saul Billingsley focused on implementing known cost-effective solutions: “We still aren’t doing old mobility right, posing a challenge to new mobility. Let’s get ISA, AEB, etc into cars to reduce speeds. Let’s provide footpaths where they are missing so we give pedestrians a fair shake of the dice. Let’s implement solutions we have today” The panel also included Bloomberg Philanthropies; the Secretary of Mobility in Bogotá, Colombia; Swedish Transport Administration; EBRD; National Committee for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents in Morocco; and new mobility company Bird.