This page contains two types of information: updates on Share the Road’s activities and news from around the world. The news articles are chosen from online news agencies and websites of other organizations with complimentary goals to Share the Road. If you would like share your news on our website, please contact us.
Updates on Share the Road’s Activities
NMT Training during 1st ASTF Policy Conference
27 October 2014, Nairobi, Kenya
The World Bank, UN-Habitat, UNEP and the Government of Kenya are launching the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum (ASTF), on 28-30 October 2014 in Nairobi, to provide a platform for high-level attention and policy dialogue on access to environmentally sustainable transport in Africa. Modeled on similar forums in Asia and Latin America, ASTF’s goal is to integrate sustainable transport into the region’s development and planning processes and increase the amount of funding going to sustainable transport programs in Africa. Prior to the ASTF conference on 27 October 2014, a non-motorised transport (NMT) training took place in Nairobi for key representatives from ministries of environment and transport; civil society; academia etc. Overall, 13 countries participated in the training including Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burundi, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. The training was conducted by UNEP in collaboration with resource persons from the University of Twente, with the aim of building capacity of participants on planning and development of NMT policy and infrastructure
Read More >>
Building a Model to explore NMT Infrastructure Costs and Benefits
16 September 2014, Nairobi, Kenya
UNEP ‘Share the Road’ has formed a partnership with The University of Cape Town to undertake a project which will allow decision makers to more effectively explore the costs and benefits of investing in Non Motorised Transport (NMT) infrastructure.
Methodologies that measure certain benefits of NMT exist, and are used to determine environmental benefits like reduction of emissions, evaluate social benefits such as accessibility etc. However, a tool that can provide a holistic assessment of the potential social, environmental and economic benefits of NMT infrastructure improvements does not seem to exist. Such a comprehensive tool would be a useful instrument for guiding national and local authorities as well as development institutions, to comprehensively assess the benefits of NMT infrastructure. This would be important in order to help steer more investments in NMT.
UNEP ‘Share the Road’ recognizes the importance of informing and influencing NMT investments, through evidence which demonstrates an understanding of the trade-offs between investments and outcomes. Consequently, this project aims to carry out a review of methodologies that assess the benefits and costs of NMT infrastructure, and develop a framework and tool for ex-ante evaluation (looking at cost-benefit analysis [CBA] and multi-criteria evaluation [MCA] techniques amongst others) of NMT infrastructure and facility investments. This would be done while considering social, environmental, and economic benefits, and using best-practice examples.
Specifically, the project will:
- Undertake a literature review on ex-ante evaluation (CBA and MCA) studies and approaches, particularly looking at studies that measure the benefits and costs of NMT interventions;
- Collate data on various environmental, social and economic benefits and/or costs for at least 2 case studies where NMT infrastructure has already been put in place; and
- Develop and apply a tool, likely to be a spreadsheet tool, for ex-ante evaluation of current NMT investments for selected case cities, while considering social, environmental and economic benefits. This tool can be a hybrid of existing tools.
StR Presentation during the 4th IRF Latin American Regional Congress
8-10 September 2014, Lima, Peru
The city of Lima, Peru will host the International Road Federation (IRF) 4th Latin America Regional Congress , scheduled to take place on 8-10 September 2014. The Congress will address current regional infrastructure challenges, focusing primarily on building and maintaining safer, sustainable, and resilient road networks. Local and international experts will gather to share and discuss best practices and lessons learned in the fields of road safety, infrastructure asset management, private public partnerships (PPPs), construction materials, and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
During the congress, UNEP’s sustainable transport work will be presented to provide participants with an overview of various interventions such as the fuel economy initiative, low carbon transport project, clean fuels and vehicles work, as well as the non-motorised transport (NMT) and road safety work. Further, additional information on NMT will be provided during the ‘PPPs’ and ‘Vulnerable Road User’ sessions to stimulate discussions on the challenges of NMT policy development, financing, multi sector buy-in, and integration into national and local authority agendas.
Read More >>
Awareness Raising Event on NMT
7 April 2014, Kampala, Uganda
An awareness raising event took place on 7 April 2014 in Kampala, organized by FABIO in collaboration with UNEP. The event included car free day activities geared towards sensitizing the youth, civil society organizations etc., on NMT issues. During the event, the NMT policy implementation approach was introduced and participants informed of the benefits of walking and cycling.
National Pilot NMT Implementation Workshop and Training of Trainers
18-20 March 2014, Kampala, Uganda
FABIO in collaboration with the MoWT, University of Twente and UNEP organized a workshop on 18 March 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, with key stakeholders at national level to enhance ownership of the NMT policy and mainstream its implementation in ongoing government programs and projects. The workshop was then followed by a two day Training of Trainers that took place on 19-20 March 2014, for ministry officials and municipal engineers aimed at facilitating better understanding of NMT issues, and bridging the gap to support incorporation of NMT infrastructure in urban areas.
YOURS Training of Facilitators
25 November – 6 December, 2013
UNEP hosted the second edition of the Training of Facilitators for Youth and Road Safety on 25 November – 6 December 2013, at the UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. 14 youth leaders from a range of local and national Kenyan Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) trained on key road safety theory and facilitation skills. During this year’s training, an additional session on non-motorised transport (NMT) was incorporated to help participants understand the importance of NMT, means of ensuring social inclusion, and how to support education, awareness building, social marketing & advocacy.
Kenya Civil Society Partnership Forum - Non Motorized Transport and Road Safety
31 October, 2013
UNEP hosted the Kenya Civil Society Partnership Forum, as part of the Global South-South Development Expo 2013. The event brought together 35 organizations with a remit for Non-Motorised Transport and Road Safety to discuss approaches and strategies for achieving sustainable urban mobility through collaborative and partnership working.
National Workshop to promote Non Motorised transport in Burundi
6-7 August, 2013
A national workshop to promote Non Motorised transport (NMT) took place on 6-7 August 2013, in Bujumbura, Burundi. The main objectives of the workshop was to discuss the goals of the ‘Share the Road’ initiative, current state of NMT in Burundi, and recommend steps to promote NMT infrastructure.
UNEP Share the Road Event and TEST Network Policy Dialogue
25-26 June, 2013
A UNEP Share the Road (StR) event and Transport and Environment Science Technology (TEST) Network Policy Dialogue took place on 25-26 June 2013 at the UNEP headquarters in Gigiri. The main objective of the workshop was to support transport stakeholders and policy makers in Africa to implement sustainable urban mobility through systematic investments in walking and cycling infrastructure.
Long Short Walk’ on UN Avenue, StR’s first Demonstration Project
25 June 2013, Nairobi, Kenya
The world marathon record holder and UNEP Clean Air Initiative patron Patrick Makau, joined school children, Kenya Red Cross representatives and delegates participating in the UNEP Share the Road (StR) event and Transport and Environment Science Technology (TEST) Network Policy Dialogue in a, ‘Long Short Walk’ (LSW) event that was jointly organized by FIA Foundation and UNEP.
The walk took place on 25 June 2013, at the end of day one of the workshop, along UN Avenue, StR’s first demonstration project. UN Avenue was rehabilitated by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and includes non motorised transport facilities.
The LSW is a global campaign advocating for safe roads for all. The campaign advocates for the rights of pedestrians and children on the road to be recognised and urges greater investment in safe footpaths, cycle-ways and crossing points, on streets with lower speed limits, especially around schools. It is coordinated by FIA Foundation as part of the Make Roads Safe Campaign.
News From Around The World
Building Happy Cities – Meeting the Challenge of Urban Mobility
14 November 2014, IRF
Historically, the demand for urban transport and mobility has been met by improving and extending urban roads, the vehicles that use them, and the public transport system. More recently, attempts to influence transport and travel behavior by using Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and pricing road use have been made. Despite these interventions, most informed observers would agree that the performance of policy designed to address problems of urban transport and mobility has been, at best, very modest. The International Road Federation (IRF) and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), joined hands for a side event on 14 November 2014, which took place during Michelin’s Challenge Bibendum in Chendu, China. The event looked at current trends and future challenges in urban mobility, and proposed solutions. Cities today are confronted with the question of how to cater to transport and mobility needs of their inhabitants while providing a pleasant, comfortable, aesthetically appealing, safe, healthy and happy urban environment, and the IRF/FIA event attempted to answer this and other underlying questions.
Read More >>
Johannesburg takes up the Challenge of a Car-Free City
24 October 2014, ICLEI
A unique event will take place in Johannesburg from 1-31 October 2015, during South Africa’s Transport Month. The City will be organizing the world’s second-ever ‘EcoMobility World Festival 2015’, a month-long car-free city district event. The project will visualize an ecomobile future for residents and visitors in Johannesburg. “We want to close off certain streets in Sandton, our second largest Central Business District (CBD) to car traffic and instead use these lanes for public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of EcoMobility during the entire Transport Month”, announced the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr Parks Tau. The EcoMobility World Festival will mobilize and raise local and international support for ecomobile alternatives to fossil-fuel transport. The EcoMobility World Festival will showcase the new Rea Vaya bus rapid transport scheme, public transport, cycling and walking friendly infrastructure that the city is constructing in the Sandton CBD. Johannesburg is a long standing member of the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), and one of ICLEI’s key programs is EcoMobility - travel through socially inclusive and environmentally-friendly transport options, integrating walking, cycling and use of public transport.
Read More >>
XV International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities
21-23 October 2014, Walk21
The 15th International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities took place from 21-23 October 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The conference focused on the theme of change, and presentations centered around three key elements for delivering change: identifying the relevant catalysts for action; successful implementation strategies; and the leadership qualities needed to be effective. It was agreed that communities wanting to become more walkable, did not necessarily need to know what to do anymore, as much as learn how to deliver the changes they required. Transposing streets, parks and other public spaces that matter into more vibrant, quirky and enticing destinations, until recently, only seemed possible where there were particularly visionary politicians, trusted planners or respected advocates. However, creative activists (also known as tactical urbanists) have been identified as effective catalysts too, often empowered by an apparent official indifference that can entice them to take responsibility for ensuring their local neighborhoods are more walkable. The activists approach, to re-imagine streets and public places with short term, low cost changes, are increasingly being adopted and legitimized by authorities in many countries.
Sydney has proven that when walking is recognized as a transport mode and its relevance measured as a percentage of trips, the results can justify the revision of existing policies, inform the development of appropriate new strategies, and ensure an additional and measurable relevant benefit can be secured from future infrastructure projects. Focusing on the needs of people on foot first, and then integrating the operational considerations of public transport, can help all modes and improve efficiency. This is being used as a strategy in some cities in Asia to help address the growing concerns of air quality, obesity, congestion and economic sustainability. Adapting similar strategies to suburban areas is important to ensure improvements are connected and can fully benefit all citizens equally.
Opportunities presented by the conference included: promoting leadership from health bodies whose members benefit from regular everyday walking; engaging recreational walking bodies, parks, trails, bush walkers etc., is potentially a quick win for governments and groups wishing to engage with people who already walk, hence easy to invite their support to get others on board; and adopting a Vision Zero policy nationally for road safety would demonstrate real commitment to addressing the many preventable pedestrian road deaths which happen every year.
Read More >>
Chennai Adopts NMT Policy: A Quantum Leap towards Safer Streets
21 October 2014, ITDP
Chennai Corporation is reclaiming precious road space from chaotic traffic, unregulated parking, and haphazardly placed utilities to create wide, continuous, and accessible footpaths, prioritizing people over cars. This initiative received a huge fillip earlier this month when Chennai Corporation’s Council adopted a progressive policy that made walking and cycling or “non-motorised transport,” (NMT) its priority. The policy aims to arrest the current decline in walking and cycling in the city by creating safe and pleasant network of footpaths, cycle tracks, greenways and other NMT facilities. Walking and cycling infrastructure, that until recently was at best an afterthought, will now take centre stage. The policy mandates that a minimum of 60% of the Corporation’s transport budget is allocated to construct and maintain NMT infrastructure.
Despite poor pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the city, over six million trips are made on foot and cycle everyday in Chennai, a 1/3 of all trips in the city. Public transport trips, another 1/3 of all trips, also start and end on foot (or cycle). With over 10,000 traffic crashes reported every year, Chennai has one of the highest rates of road deaths in the country. 4 people are killed on the roads of Chennai every day. Pedestrians and cyclists are highly vulnerable, and the absence of safe walking and cycling facilities worsens the situation. Recognizing the urgent need to transform the scenario, the Corporation has set for itself ambitious goals: by 2018, build safe and continuous footpaths on at least 80% of all streets, increase the share of walking and cycling trips to over 40%, and, most significantly, eliminate pedestrian and cyclist deaths. The Corporation aims to achieve these goals by mandating various measures through this policy.
Read More >>
Counties Sign Transport Management Pact
21 October 2014, Capital News
The Governors of Kajiado, Kiambu, Nairobi and Muranga counties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pave way for the formation of a Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority. The authority is meant to oversee the implementation of the mass rapid transit system within the city and its surroundings. The authority is also set to recommend policies on pricing and investments, financing equipment and related traffic management systems. Development partners will also work through the authority, consisting of representatives from all stakeholders. The major components of the project include the expansion and upgrading of highways, service and access roads from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport through Nairobi to Rironi, on the Northern Corridor transport system. The project will be implemented by agencies within the Ministries of Roads and Transport, including the Kenya National Highways Authority, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority and the Kenya Railways Corporation. The World Bank and other development partners such as the African Development Bank, the European Union, Japan and China, are helping Kenya to modernize its transport system and to remove barriers to a more dynamic business climate within the country and the wider East African region.
Read More >>
Durban launches Non-Motorised Transport Network
3 October 2014, EPROP.co.za
eThekwini Municipality launched its non-motorised transport Network at the Green Hub in Durban. "This is a city for people not a city for cars", was the message given by His Worship the Mayor Councilor James Nxumalo, as he reaffirmed the city's "commitment for the development of public transport infrastructure plans to harness people power to propel themselves forward." The City's vibrant dedicated infrastructural plan for the NMT network will include sidewalks, off-road paths, safe crossings, pedestrian bridges and cycle areas, for recreational and commuting purposes. The focus, however, will be on commuter-based use, that enables and empowers people to walk and cycle throughout the city, and are designed to help protect them from fatalities caused by motorised vehicles or negotiating unsafe pathways to access the public transport network. The vision of the NMT network is to have a safe, functional and attractive environment for NMT users that gives people good access to opportunities, and improved quality of life, stimulates economic growth and creates a sustainable city for the future.
The success of the network will be judged on how it delivers on four pillars: its ability to connect people to places and communities, how it enhances lifestyles and results in an environment that is safer, how it promotes economic growth and prosperity, and whether it is delivered in an efficient and sustainable way. In 2006, the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) produced several ideas for a Cycle Policy for the city, which formulated a strategy addressing the following priority areas: commuting, recreation, tourism, sport, special events, and scholars. Building on this foundation, GO!Durban will implement a planned programme of cycle projects to ensure the new network provides for the needs of non-motorised transport users, primarily taking into account the needs of those who will require cheaper commuting options such as walking and cycling.
Read More >>
Cyclists Map Antwerp Air Pollution with On-Bike Monitors
18 September 2014, European Commission
Personal ‘mobile monitoring’ is attracting increasing attention as a way of understanding
how much air pollution we are exposed to, and to help evaluate its risk. Small monitors
attached to a person are a promising low-cost technology, which show how pollution levels
for an individual vary with precise location and time. The researchers equipped cyclists in Antwerp, Belgium, with the special monitoring bicycles and sent them on two fixed routes around the city centre. The study, which received some funding through the EU EveryAware project, focused on two pollutants: ultrafine particles (particles with a diameter of less than 0.1 micrometres) and black carbon. Both are emitted by traffic and both have been linked with health issues, including breathing and heart problems.
The data revealed how pollution levels can vary within a single street. For instance, ultrafine particle concentrations rose from around 50,000 particles per cm3 (pt/cm3) to 80,000 pt/cm3 on one section of a busy street because of a short tunnel. Black carbon concentrations shot up from 3 micrograms per m3 (µg/m3) to 17 µg/m³ in the tunnel, compared with a section of the street next to a green space. A cycle lane on the same street varied in its distance from the traffic, and hence also influenced cyclists’ exposure to the traffic. One section of the cycle lane, which was 2m away from the driving lane, exposed cyclists to 50,000-80,000 pt/cm3 of ultrafine particles. However, a separate section, 5m from the traffic, reduced exposure to 30,000-50,000 pt/cm3. The mere presence of cycle lanes made a difference. Generally, streets without cycle lanes, which lead cyclists to ride behind vehicles, increased exposure compared with streets that did have lanes.
Read More >>
More Space Sought for Cyclists and Pedestrians
17 September 2014, Asia News Network
"In recent years, cyclists have faced a deteriorating environment in cities, and the proportion of people choosing to walk or ride bicycles to get around keeps declining”. These were the sentiments of Tang Kai, Chief Planner in China’s Ministry of Housing and Rural Development, during a conference to mark the 2014 Car-Free Day. "Governments in some cities have been removing bicycle lanes or narrowing sidewalks when approving road development to give more space to motor vehicles," Kai said. Since 2007, China has used Car-Free Day, to promote green transport and the reduction of traffic congestion and pollution, which are serious problems in many cities in China. There are more than 5 million cars in Beijing, and increased use of cars has been a major cause of urban air pollution. The use of bikes, however, has been declining. In Beijing, less than 20% of people use bikes as a means of transportation, compared with more than 50% 20 years ago, according to government figures. To encourage the use of bicycles, public rental bikes have been introduced in many cities, such as Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and Beijing.
Read More >>
Road Safety Campaign every Seven Days
17 August 2014, The Standard
There is a growing interest within the media fraternity in Kenya on the need to publish more articles that highlight road safety concerns and challenges in Kenya. Road users (motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, hand cart operators etc.) need to understand and adhere to laid down traffic rules and regulations, whereas infrastructure providers such as the Ministry of Transport, country governments etc., and enforcement agencies such as the Traffic Police need to coordinate their efforts and work together towards ensuring that transport systems are equitable and sustainable. There is also need for continuous awareness raising and sensitization campaigns to educate road users on their rights and proper use of available transport infrastructure. A good example that depicts why these interventions are necessary can be viewed here .
Traffic Robots in Kinshasa
16 August 2014, Deutsche Welle (DW)
The main arterial road in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was recently expanded to include eight lanes. Since then, motorists have been able to drive faster resulting in numerous accidents. Due to increased fatalities, the Professional Women in Technology Association developed a robot to regulate traffic, and allow pedestrians to cross the road safely.
Read More >>
ITF pledges support to UN High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport
12 August 2014, ITF
The Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD, José Viegas, has welcomed the creation of a High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and pledged to support the work of the new body. “The creation of the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport constitutes an important step towards focusing on transport as a priority building block for sustainable development,” said Viegas.
The aim of the Advisory Group is to promote accelerated implementation of sustainable transport, aligned closely with the objectives of inclusive and equitable growth, social development, protection of the global environment and ecosystems, and addressing climate change. To accomplish this, the Advisory Group will provide a global message and recommendations on sustainable transport, including on innovative policy and multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable transport; launch a “Global Transport Outlook Report” by 2015 to provide analytical support for these recommendations; and help mobilize action and initiatives in support of sustainable transport among key actors, including Member States, development finance institutions, bilateral development partners, transport providers, urban authorities and land-use planners. The Advisory Group will also seek to promote the integration of sustainable transport in relevant intergovernmental processes, including making recommendations on the formulation and implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
The Tale of a Trail
7 August 2014, Laguna Beach Independent
The San Clemente railroad corridor beach trail is a 2.4-mile trail that parallels the railroad tracks all along the San Clemente coast extending from North Beach to Califia Beach, with the San Clemente Pier approximately in the middle. In 1998 the city contracted an engineering company to design a12-foot wide asphalt bicycle trail along the route. The proposed trail would necessitate huge amounts of paving, additional boulder rip-rap extending onto the beach, grading into existing natural hillsides, and miles of chain link fence along the railroad tracks. When the public realized the environmental implications of the project, concerned residents mounted a massive campaign to “De-Rail the Trail”. This effort was successful, and in 1999 the original project was terminated. The Council appointed a blue ribbon committee to determine community needs and preferences. The committee’s proposed trail criteria included: a decomposed granite trail that would be shared by joggers, walkers, and bicyclists; no additional boulder “rip-rap” on the beach; no grading into the natural slopes; improvements in pedestrian safety with designated beach access points at nine locations; and preserving the natural ambiance and rustic character of the site.
San Clemente issued a new request for proposal in 2000 based on these guidelines, and Borthwick Guy Bettenhausen, Inc. was selected to lead the planning and design team. The trail officially opened in 2006, and the final project cost was $15 million. The project included at-grade pedestrian railroad crossings, pedestrian underpasses, and a 1,000 ft. long pedestrian bridge to avoid grading at a particularly tight slope condition. To complicate things further, there were 12 public agencies (regional, state, and federal) that had to approve the project. However, due to its success and popularity, all the agencies that were originally against the project now strongly embrace it as a model of collaboration. When the San Clemente city planning and recreation staff projected trail usage prior to construction, it was estimated that over 250,000 trips might be generated per year. Current user tabulation is 1.8 million trips per year, over seven times the original estimate. Clearly, the trail is enormously popular with people of all ages and physical abilities. The trail links all the various neighborhoods together in one continuous green thread, and the local newspaper has written that the trail “is the best thing that San Clemente has ever done.”
NTSA Steps up Measures to Reduce Road Carnage
1 August 2014, Capital News
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has stepped up measures to reduce road carnage. This includes ensuring that foot bridges- currently in deplorable conditions - are cleaned and made user friendly. Mr. Francis Meja, the authority’s Director General, also warned that pedestrians crossing roads at non-designated places will be arrested and charged in a court of law. Statistics indicate that 46 percent of road crash victims are pedestrians. 302 people were killed last year in the month of August due to road accidents.
The Bike-Share Boom Arrives in Lanzhou, China
11 July 2014, ITDP
Lanzhou joined the ever-growing bike-share boom as it launched China's latest public bike system. Exceeding expectations, the first phase of Lanzhou's bike-share brings 111 stations, 2,795 docks and 2,000 bikes to the city's downtown Chenguan District. The system is high-tech and modern, with all stations equipped with automatic docks. The system also shares an access card with the city's high-quality BRT. As with many public bike share systems in China, the first hour of use is free; this makes it easy for Lanzhou residents to use the system for daily trips to work, school and shopping. When the system expands, it will bring up to nearly 10,000 bikes and 390 stations, and will be ranked among the biggest bike-shares in China, and a model for modal integration worldwide.
Butantã, São Paulo Opens New Cycle Path
19 June 2014, ITDP
Nearly a decade after the plan was first developed; the Butantã neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil has opened a new cycle path. Separated from the road, the new path is safe, comfortable, and accessible. The path is part of the growing network of cycle lanes in São Paulo which are helping to make the city more cycle-friendly. The new path is 2.1 km and runs along Eliseu de Almeida Street between Camargo and Santo Albina. Providing better access for cyclists throughout this largely commercial area, the path is part of a planned 5km route. The next stage of the project will be extending the path to connect with the Butantã Metro Station and with Butantã's neighboring district, Taboão de Serra. With more than 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan region, São Paulo is far behind the region's other major cities in providing space for cyclists on the city streets. With just under 63 kilometers of bike path currently, the city lags behind Buenos Aires's 130km, Rio de Janeiro's 365km and Bogotá's 359km. With ever worsening traffic and a rapidly growing population, the city government is ready to change its transit legacy. The City announced a plan to build 400 km of new bike paths by 2016.
Can Biking and Walking Save Lives in Cities in the Global South?
13 June 2014, Huffington Post
Building a walkable, bike-able, and "human-scale" city is a crucial but challenging process. Sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, parks, and green areas are all pieces of a complex puzzle to help citizens navigate their city safely and sustainably. The following are examples of cities that are working towards making their cities more transport inclusive. Curitiba in Brazil has more than 450 public squares and more than 400 small public gardens where residents can walk, exercise, and interact. This, along with a good working public transportation system and the adaptation of pedestrian-only streets, means that almost the entire city is pedestrian-friendly. In Jakarta, the Bicycle Committee of Indonesia has donated funds for the government to build more bike lanes. The booming Bike to Work Indonesia movement, started in 2004, is campaigning for citizens to switch modes of transportation and cycle to work. The government has also started to respond to the emergence of biking enthusiasts, building the first ever official bike lane in 2011 and unveiling the longest bike path in the city, a 6.7 km bike route in late 2012.
On Mumbai's streets, everyone is vulnerable but no one more than the thousands of school children who walk to school, often in the streets, in the absence of school buses and navigable sidewalks. In response, the Walking Project is advocating for better sidewalks in the city. A new initiative, ‘Safe Kids Foundation’, works to prevent accidents to children in India, teaching safe behaviors to pedestrian children and to urban motorists through educational materials and hands-on activities. In Lagos, Nigeria there has been an emphasis on keeping city pedestrians safe from harm's way by improving road safety rules and infrastructure. Recently, the government has been building pedestrian bridges and express-ways all over the city. More and more sidewalks can be seen across Lagos, especially near busy roadways.
The opening in May 2013 of the Bulevar del Río project in Cali, Colombia represented a turning point in the relationship between motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The project, a 800m pedestrian corridor, has become a large and safe public space in a city that sorely lacks them. In South Africa, travel is dominated by walking and public transport with historic spatial marginalization in cities like Johannesburg complicating the situation. Non motorised transport (NMT) has gradually become a priority area at all levels of government, resulting in the City of Johannesburg's Framework for NMT in 2009. NMT, focusing specifically on cycling, is envisioned to support and integrate with other transport nodes, including projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit System and Gautrain stations, allowing individuals in outlying areas to bicycle to the nearest public transport node.
Protected Bike Lanes aren't just Safer, they can also increase Cycling
2 June 2014, CityLab
Not all bike lanes are created equal. A line in the pavement dividing cars from cyclists is nice, but it doesn't provide nearly the comfort of a protected bike lane. Cyclists who use protected lanes say they feel safer, and some studies show they truly are safer, with their risk of injury cut in half. Is the assurance of a protected bike lane enough to make a cyclist of those who might otherwise choose another transportation mode? New research suggests that, to a modest extent, the answer is yes. Researchers found that ridership increased anywhere from 21 to 171 percent, with about 10 percent of new riders drawn from other modes. The analysis focused on new bike facilities along eight city streets in the US. The biggest gains — with ridership more than doubling — occurred on two streets converted into two-way lanes. The results are impressive, but on their own have limited meaning, since cycling in these cities is on the rise everywhere.
A better baseline comparison comes by placing ridership in the new corridors against general trends across the city. Here, too, the protected lanes performed well. Ridership in the new lanes beat the city average along all but one street — and on that street, it matched the average. The key is not just whether the protected lanes attract more riders, but whether they attract new riders. In surveys, the researchers found that across all five cities, 65 percent of riders would have gone by bike along this street anyway, and that another 24 percent, evidently comforted by the protected lane, would have traveled by bike but gone a different route. Critically, 10 percent of the new riders would have taken another (unspecified) mode. So protected bike lanes do seem to serve the double purpose of improving rider safety while also inspiring people to ride in the first place.
Vulnerable Road Users Benefit less from Improved Road Safety
21 May 2014, ITF
According to the International Transport Forum (ITF), road fatalities fell by 1.7% between 2011 and 2012 in the 31 OECD countries covered by the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD). However, road safety policies are not succeeding in improving protection for vulnerable road users and in some cases, increases have been recorded. For example, the increased number of cyclists has been accompanied by a slowing of the decreasing rate of deadly crashes by cyclists registered in previous years, and in some instances by an increase. Fatalities among car occupants were reduced by 50% between 2000 and 2012, whereas decreases were only 34% for pedestrians, 31% for cyclists and 17% for motorcyclists.
Overall, road safety policies in countries covered by the IRTAD database have been a huge success. Between 2000 and 2012, the annual death toll has fallen by nearly 40% or 45,000 fewer deaths per year when compared with 2000 level. While the most recent data overall confirms the downward trend in road deaths, and some countries have achieved historic successes, IRTAD recorded the lowest average reduction rate in 10 years. Such a moderate success will be insufficient to contribute substantially to the UN road safety target of halting the global increase in the number of traffic fatalities and reversing the trend. Currently, 1.3 million people die on the world’s roads each year, mostly in emerging economies. Forecasts expect the global figure to rise to nearly 2 million in 2020 if no strong action is taken.
Bike 2 Work Day
16 May 2014, ITDP
Bike to Work Day is an annual event held during the month of May. This year, the event took place on Friday 16 May 2014, and ITDP supported the event by promoting cycling as a universal, zero-carbon form of everyday transportation. Cycling is good physical exercise - three to four times faster than walking - and it allows you to cover an area that is nine to sixteen times larger in the same amount of time. Additionally, the operating cost of a bike is nearly 30 times less than that of a car. Encouraging biking in communities increases overall appeal. Biking increases accessibility to the central economic, educational, and health institutions, generating business and easing traffic congestion. Biking also significantly decreases communities overall carbon footprint, noise level, and consumes far less space than motor vehicle parking and road infrastructure.
Low Carbon Transport (LCT) Event during WUF7
9 April 2014, Medellín, Columbia
A LCT event organized by the ‘Promoting Low Carbon Transport in India’ project partners took place on 9 April 2014 in Medellín, Columbia, during the World Urban Forum (WUF7). The project is assisting cities to develop low carbon transport systems that are sustainable and inclusive, by building the capacity of consultants and stakeholders at the city level. During the event, the Low Carbon Comprehensive Mobility Plan (LCMP) for Rajkot was presented. The plan was developed based on a land use strategy that looked at density, diversity, design and destination, resulting in an overall reduction in demand for transport along with a shift towards walking, cycling and public transport.
Towards a Smart Moving Kampala
April 2014, The Kampala Steward
Uganda launched its national non-motorised transport (NMT) policy in May 2013, at which time the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in collaboration with UNEP had already initiated an NMT pilot project for the city. The corridor has been selected from Namirembe Road and Luwum Street, stretching to Speke Road and Shimoni Road, with a connection to Constitutional Square. The NMT infrastructure provision is being developed to cater for approximately 60% of the population along the existing road network, who rely on NMT.
KCCA’s focus is to undertake strategic network planning for motorists, public transport, walking and cycling. The city authority is also revamping its existing public transport system by promoting a shift from low to high volume commuter carriers, while exploring investments in other mass transit options such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), trains and cable cars. A proposal for development of a BRT network is already in the pipeline; the network will allow for direct access to the city centre and is envisaged to act as the main public transport mode for the next 15-20 years.
Unlocking New Opportunities: Jobs in Green and Healthy Transport
April 2014, UNEP in Europe
Over 76,600 people would be employed in green and healthy transport every year and 10,000 lives would be saved if major European cities reached the cycling modal share of Copenhagen. This is the conclusion of a new publication released by UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Summarising the report, Mr Dusik, UNEP’s Director, Regional Office for Europe, on the occasion of the Fourth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment said, "Multiple benefits of sustainable transport for health and environment, as well as creation of green jobs in this sector, are a clear proof that green economy is possible in practice and already happening".
The overall costs associated with the environmental and health impacts of transport can be up to 4% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). In the WHO European Region outdoor air pollution, largely caused by traffic, results in almost 500 000 deaths annually, according to new evidence. Road accidents kill 90 000 people prematurely each year, and transport adds 24% to total greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and North America. When it discourages physical activity, transport contributes to nearly 1 million deaths per year.
Women on Wheels Project
28 March 2014, Citizen TV Kenya
The Women and Wheels Project is an exciting example of Civil Society introducing positive change in the community. Lizzie Kiama, disability rights campaigner set up the project as an avenue to integrate women with disability into sports, in this case, wheelchair rugby. Find out more about the project by watching this video , which is part of the Citizen TV’s Women in Sports segment. Lizzie can be contacted directly at lizziek[at]thisabilityconsulting.com. More information on the project can be viewed here: http://wwproject.org/.
Sharing Knowledge across Borders
25 March 2014, IRF
The International Road Federation (IRF) published Volume 1 of the IRF Examiner, a freely available periodical journal featuring peer-reviewed technical papers. The Spring 2014 edition addresses life-saving road safety applications. IRF President & CEO C. Patrick Sankey noted, “Global road deaths and traffic-related injuries have reached epidemic levels, causing significant personal and financial losses to society. There is little question that the systematic use of diagnostic tools and roadside treatment such as those presented in the launch edition of the IRF Examiner could prevent many such casualties."
Uganda puts pedestrian and cyclist safety first in drive to improve its roads
19 March 2014, theguardian
Sub-Saharan Africa is the most dangerous place in the world to travel by foot. Pedestrians account for 22% of road fatalities worldwide; in Africa, this proportion rises to 38%. Such statistics have served as a wake-up call in Africa, a continent that struggles with traffic congestion, air pollution and limited access to transport. In Uganda, Kenya and a handful of other countries, officials are developing laws and guidelines to keep pedestrians safe. In Uganda, the government has made real progress in this area by drafting an NMT policy in 2012 that has since been made law to protect pedestrians and cyclists. But policies alone are not enough – any legislation needs to be implemented and enforced.
Policy reinforces the idea that the government is responsible for providing high-quality infrastructure – pavements, cycle lanes and the like – to serve the country's non-motorised transport (NMT) users. But infrastructure alone cannot reduce pedestrian deaths. People will have to change their behaviour on the roads, which is why educating the public is so important, as Uganda's new policy recognizes. UNEP has worked hard to promote the safety of pedestrians and cyclists throughout Africa by encouraging countries to pay more attention to NMT. In Uganda, UNEP worked closely with the government to help to design its NMT policy, enhance public awareness and develop pilot projects to improve pedestrian safety.
A Business Case for Safer Roads
28 February 2014, iRAP
Worldwide, 1.24 million people are killed in road crashes each year, with crashes being the leading cause of death for young people. Based on current trends, by 2030 road crashes will kill more people than malaria and tuberculosis combined, and more than HIV/AIDS. The number of people seriously injured in crashes is of a greater magnitude than the number of people killed. Affordable road improvements, such as footpaths, safety barriers, bicycle lanes and paved shoulders save lives.
iRAP has produced a simple global analysis to help demonstrate that investments in safer roads can produce very high returns. The simple analysis helps to illustrate the benefits - in terms of deaths and serious injuries prevented and economic savings - that could be achieved over 20 years by improving just 10% of each country's roads. The analysis supports the case for including road safety in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process that is currently ongoing, and a draft results framework on sustainable transport has already been developed.
Rio de Janeiro's Ciclo Rotas Project Brings Bike Lanes Downtown
20 February 2014, ITDP
Rio bike riders can roam a little freer, as the first 3.3 kilometers of new, ITDP designed cycle lanes opened in the city's downtown. The opening included three different cycle routes, connecting important transit stations with their surrounding areas. The dedicated lanes are the first in downtown Rio, allowing bikers more safety, comfort, and accessibility on the busy streets of central Rio. The lanes add important connectivity in the area, linking bus and metro stations with pedestrian areas, and build momentum for further biking gains to come. “It is a major achievement, and makes a strong statement about the kind of urban mobility we want for our city,” said Clarisse Linke, Country Director for ITDP Brazil. “Bikes can serve as an important connection from mass transit stations to the rest of the city”.
The new bike routes provide several important benefits to Rio residents: they will increase mobility in the neighborhoods of Lapa, Saúde and Gamboa, while addressing the 'last mile' problem from transit stations to work places, and establishing space for non-motorized transit in downtown Rio. In addition, the new lanes will be integrated with the existing cycling infrastructure, increasing connectivity of the entire network and helping to create a complete path from the city's ‘North Zone to South Zone’.
Road Sharing in the Philippines
13 February 2014, Rappler
Renowned environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr., alongside a group of young lawyers and concerned citizens petitioned the Philippines Government on Monday, February 17, to compel officials to implement road sharing in the country. “Only 1% of Filipinos own cars, yet all of the roads are given to them”, said Oposa in a press briefing. “99% have to make do with the sliver of sidewalk and bike lanes made available to them. And even these are often used as parking spaces by car owners”. The current mindset where cars are perceived as a symbol of privilege has spawned poor public transport systems. Buses are old, ill-maintained, and dangerous. Public trains are cramped and not dependable. There were more than 7 million vehicles on the road nationwide in 2011, resulting to 80% of air pollution. By the end of 2013, the level of total suspended particulates in Metro Manila was 114 ug/ncm, whereas the internationally recognized safe level is 90ug/ncm. Those who decide to walk or take a bike suffer from this pollution, and the domination of cars on the road. 10 out of 11 cases of respiratory diseases in the country are in Metro Manila, according to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
“The solution to air pollution and poor public transport is to limit the road space given to cars. This is called road diet, whereby the number of vehicles on the road is limited by limiting road space. If you have less road space, then people will seek to improve collective transport systems. The whole idea is not against car owners, but rather many of them would prefer to utilize public transport if they could. They would save money on fuel, and it would give them an option”. “If there are still people who want to drive their cars, no one will stop them. The only difference is they will have to share the road with the other modes of transport now available”, said Oposa.
Campaigns for New Design and Sharing of Roads Gathers Pace to Reduce Deaths
31 January 2014, Business Daily
Scholastica Omoga walks to work daily from Kibera to Westlands shopping centre. Ms Omoga says she always crosses her fingers and prays not to be hit by the vehicles moving at high speed. Other Kenyans living in busy cities like Nairobi go through a similar scenario of competing for road space, especially during peak hours. “This contest between motorists and other road users usually culminates in road accidents that kill or seriously injure someone every six seconds, resulting in a yearly toll of about 1.2 million fatalities mostly in developing nations”, said UNEP. The agency is promoting a global programme dubbed ‘Share the Road’, to address some of these challenges on the road. “Our message is simple, build roads with adequate walking and cycling facilities to save lives and propel development,” said Rob de Jong, Head of the Transport Unit at UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE).
“Walking and cycling constitute more than 50 per cent of journeys made in urban cities like Nairobi”, said Mr. Michael Njonge, Traffic Manager at the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA). “It’s no longer a question of whether we can afford it or not. We just have to build roads with adequate space for vehicles and other modes of transport,” he added. Wilson Tikwa, Chief Road Safety officer at KURA said “it’s clear that at any point in our cities, we have more people on foot than in cars. It doesn’t make sense to implement a multi-billion shilling road project for a few motorists, but fail to construct anything for thousands of other road users”. “And it does not cost much”, said UNEP. “By setting aside less than five per cent of funds allocated to road construction, the government can build people-friendly roads”. However, Mr. Jong said that Kenya faces a more complex problem than redesign of roads, “The high population growth and the strong appetite for cars, means that the number of vehicles doubles every six years. Any new roads constructed will be quickly filled up. The country needs to begin embracing other modes of transport”.
“In this regard, KURA decided in 2011 to include facilities for both motorised and non-motorised transport modes in all urban roads it constructs or rehabilitates,” said Mr Njonge. The recently commissioned 8.4 kilometres Western Ring Road (starting from Westlands, past Kilileshwa to Yaya Centre) was the first road in Kenya to be constructed using the ‘Share the Road’ model. The new designs have encouraged more people to walk and use bicycles, which Mr Tikwa said promote healthy living by keeping lifestyle diseases associated with sedentary conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems at bay. “With fewer cars on roads, there will be less air pollution which is also good for health,” notes Mr. Jong. Even people who own cars, adds Mr Njonge, can immensely cut on parking fees and petrol costs if they embrace cycling or walking. The 2013 Kenya Economic Survey notes that Kenya imported petroleum products worth KSHS 326 billion, a budget that can be reduced through more cycling and walking. Kura has been incorporating people-friendly facilities as it upgrades roads to meet the standards of the new model. The UN Avenue is one where pedestrian paths and cycling lanes were incorporated following incidents of children killed or injured while crossing the road.
Mapping for Nairobi’s Public Transit
28 January 2014, digitalmatatus
The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA) in collaboration with the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, organized the launch of a new comprehensive Nairobi Public Transport Map and Data. The aim of the mapping exercise was to standardize and opening transit data for Nairobi’s Matatus, the informal and de facto city bus system, by using Nairobi’s active mobile phone community. Building on past Kenyan-based digital mapping efforts and open source transit software, the team produced a comprehensive framework for collecting, opening and mapping Matatu transportation data toward a mobile and equitable Nairobi.
Experts from University of Nairobi, School of Computing and Informatics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Civic Data Design Lab, collected the data and built the map through a project on public transit which also involved CSUD and Groupshot. The event was intended to make public one of the most updated public transit maps and related data for bus/matatu and rail routes for Nairobi. It will highlight how the map and data is critical for improvement of transport planning for the city, technology development and commuter information. The map will be made freely available to the County and its residents.
Driving to an Early Grave
25 January 2014, The Economist
Every 30 seconds someone, somewhere, dies in a road crash, and ten are seriously injured. The toll is rising; the World Health Organisation (WHO) expects the number of deaths globally to reach nearly 2m a year by 2030, up from 1.3m now. Over one in three road-accident victims are under 30, with crashes as the leading cause of death for 15 to 29 year olds worldwide. Most of the casualties are men and boys, who use roads more, and take more risks. That means that many were breadwinners, or could have expected soon to be. But the pain will fall far from equally. Rich countries are making roads safer and cutting casualties to rates not seen for decades, despite higher car use. Poor and middle-income ones will see crashes match HIV/AIDS as a cause of death by 2030. In the very poorest, the WHO expects deaths almost to triple. Where incomes are low, for example in Bangladesh and Kenya, pedestrians top the body count. Laws and safety measures are failing to keep up with population growth, urbanisation and rising car use.
Where safety has been put first, the results have been remarkable. Though a tragic run of crashes has killed three pedestrians and a cyclist in New York in recent days, speed bumps, pedestrian countdown lights and slow zones around schools mean that the city now has fewer deaths each year than when it started counting in 1910. Sweden has halved road deaths since 2000, and cut them by four-fifths since 1970. Crashes take a huge financial an emotional toll. A victim’s family is often plunged into poverty for two or even three generations, says Avi Silverman of the FIA Foundation, a London-based road-safety charity. The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), an engineer-led road-safety charity, calculates that road deaths and injuries cost 2% of GDP for high-income countries and 5% of GDP for middle- and low-income countries, including medical bills, care, lost output and vehicle damage—$1.9 trillion a year globally.
SDG Process – Seventh Session of the OWG
6-10 January 2014, New York, USA
The 7th session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place on 6-10 January 2014, at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA. The session dealt with sustainable cities, human settlements and sustainable transport; sustainable consumption and production (including chemicals and waste); and climate change and disaster risk reduction. During the session on ‘Sustainable Transport’, FIA Foundation, a key partner of the StR Initiative, presented a paper that called upon the objective for the post-2015 agenda to be one that restores the human dimension to transport policy, promotes the design of transport systems that do no harm, and integrates transport policies with wider development objectives in a way that supports delivery of the SDGs.
Asirt Kenya - a Civil Society Organization and partner of the StR Initiative - also presented a paper and PowerPoint slides during the session, that focused on StR’s key pillars (environment, safety and accessibility) while reiterating construction of road infrastructure that prioritizes the needs of vulnerable users, and showcasing NMT resources available to governments and partner organizations such as the NMT Design Guidelines and country pilots such as UN Avenue , in Nairobi, Kenya.