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Road safety: the silent burden of high motorization and vehicle-oriented policies. Developing countries are facing challenges beyond economic growth. The design of the national development plans can no longer be based only on economic growth, but they should also aim to increase the living standards of the population. Mexico, as some developing countries experienced an accelerated change in demographics and urban expansion associated to the industrialization process during the XX century1. There was an important internal migration phenomenon in search for job opportunities, which lead to an unplanned city’s configuration. The economic clusters, in addition to the rapid urban expansion, higher income and vehicle-oriented policies (such as road capacity expansion) are factors that encouraged motorization. In Mexico the motorization annual rate is 9.6% largely exceeding the demographic rate of 1.8%. (CTS Mexico, 2009 and INEGI 2010), but so are the deaths and injuries caused by car accidents. The road accidents are the sixth cause of death among the general population and the first cause among the group of people between 5 and 29 years old, largely affecting the population in productive age. Transportation policies cannot be overlooked, nor road safety should. Adequate mobilization should provide the means to reach safely, effectively, efficiently and sustainably the places required for all types of purposes. Urban policies are unlikely to be just imported and adapted, although some international common standards have been suggested through various organizations such as UN-HABITAT. Urban policies must reflect the configuration of the city they are trying to serve to foster productivity, increase the quality of life and equity. The situation Previous polices that encouraged the use of private vehicles, privileged a few people while raising potential threats to a large majority. For instance, road accidents in Mexico currently account for over 7 billion euros per year that is equivalent to 6% of the federal health budget (Ministry of Health, 2008). Such an investment could provide more than 30 BRT2 lines to improve public transportation and reduce car congestion and thus the risk of exposure to car accidents. Additionally, over 16,500 people died as a result of a car accident in 2011, 70% of the victims where inside the vehicles, while 30% were pedestrians (INEGI). According to the Accidents prevention commission 94% of the accidents occur in urban areas. This fact provides relevant information as of where to begin implementing Garza, G. and Rivera, S. Desarrollo economico y distribucion de la poblacion urbana en Mexico. 1960 -1990. Revista Mexicana de sociologia . vol. 55, No. 1 1990 : censos y población en Mexico. March 1993. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico
Figures from the BRT line 1 construction, 23 millions of euros per line. www.gobrt.org
a committed effort is required to define actions that deter irresponsible attitudes towards driving. infrastructure and the human behavior. Therefore. but cannot be the only solution.8 per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2010 (CENAPRA). alcoholometry tests. resilient and sustainable development in Mexico. During 2010. According to Massin (2002) there are three determinants of accidents’ gravity: the vehicle. The direct costs of road accidents have been estimated to represent 1. Organizations such as the UNDP have proposed five dimensions to improve the City’s prosperity: productivity. The Road Safety Initiative for Mexico aims to implement policies and programs. exams to obtain the driver’s license. related injuries add up to one million wounded people and 40. Cesvi3 México specified that in the country 80% of the accidents are associated to human behavior. that effectively reduce all the vehicle transit burdens. mandatory use of helmet for motorcyclist and seat-belt enforcement were implemented.policies to prevent vehicle accidents. the Pan American Health Organization. quality of life. Road accidents according to Roy Rojas from the WHO “are the fastest way to produce poverty and social inequity”. equity and environmental sustainability. nowadays international organizations and the federal government are designing policies to reduce the health problems derived from road safety.7% of the GDP in Mexico (IMESEVI). The Road Safety Initiative for Mexico is an opportunity to design solutions for countries with similar situations. health. Although support and advise are provided. programs and other strategies Adequate urbanization policies can strengthen the setup for a balanced. and depression recovery. Rules. rehabilitation. infrastructure. As I mentioned before. equity and productivity. the National Center for Accidents Prevention (CENAPRA) and the Bloomberg Foundation joined their efforts to develop the Road Safety Initiative for Mexico. road safety is linked to quality of live. The mortality rate in Mexico related to road accidents was 18. 3 Experimentation and Road safety Centre (Centro de Experimentación y Seguridad Vial) . commitment is required. results are expected therefore. the WHO.000 with permanent disabilities. There were two selected countries to be the pioneers due to their regional influence and the alarming road accident rates: Vietnam and Mexico. among others. while in countries such as Germany and UK the rates are 7 and 6 respectively. economic growth and trade. impulsive “Band-Aids” cannot tackle the challenge. Mexico has focused on problems that were very much known in the international sphere such as fighting organized crime. Basic actions such as. The results varied in effectiveness. disability treatments. Nevertheless. According to the data and institutions participating to prevent vehicle accidents must of the accidents could be avoided. Therefore. In Mexico 4 million car accidents take place every year. while only 13% are associated to infrastructure and 7% vehicle conditions. The accidents represent thus high costs in terms of productivity.
due to the potential associated risks. greater quality of life by enjoying public spaces. If more roads imply more vehicles and more traffic congestion and thus more potential risks. The streets were once a place-making milieu. investment in road safety through infrastructure and traffic calming zones can also benefit those whom do not posses the means to travel by vehicle. narrower lines to discourage speed may improve the results. Large investments in infrastructure that benefit a few but have proven to create all sorts of costs that affect the greater majority should be discouraged. Economic growth does not automatically represent prosperity for all.Traffic calming policies. living standards and economic growth tacking into account the population. A broader look into investments is required. It also is important to change the mindset towards the responsibilities in the road. efficient public transit is required. La movilidad en bicicleta como política pública. from pedestrian. México. A major obstacle for greater use of public space is fast moving vehicles. But the fact is that Mexico is facing a challenge that is deterring growth and affecting the quality of life of the population. 4 Instituto para Políticas Públicas y Desarroll. but they must be faced and tackled. Moreover. to social programs. ITPD Mexico . the needs and behaviors. it would imply less costs. Conclusion Current trends show that urban centers are attracting an important percentage of the population. bicycle lanes and public spaces would build more lively areas? I leave this question open for further research. It can also be done with international expertise but tailor made for local practices. A rapid pace of motorization is not sustainable. I. If road accidents’ rates can be dropped. although this results quite effective. It cannot be only about implementing rules and enforce them. thus urban policies should be planned ahead to impulse sustainable development in all possible areas. Road safety and accident prevention require a holistic approach to benefit all the road users. can we affirm that greater pedestrian areas. Public investment should be placed to improve the productivity. but nowadays they are essentially roads serving mainly for transportation purposes and storage (parking). Many are the policies that can be implemented form normativity and regulation. elderly people. we would perceive more than health benefits. (2011) Manual integral de movilidad ciclista para ciudades mexicanas. policies that discourage the indiscriminate use of private vehicles. Developing countries such as Mexico require people-oriented policies to accurately reduce risk factors and create a better environment. the faster they go the least visibility they have and in case of an accidents survival rates are indirectly proportional to the speed of the vehicles4. cyclists to larger vehicles. Options must also be provided when making the use of private cars less attractive. Road accidents can no longer be ignored.
Esto no es un accidente. But. México. (2012/2013) State of the World’s cities 2012/2013. World Urban Edition Forum . but you don’t explain those sufficiently. E. Programa de acción específico 2007-2012 Seguridad vial. 2010 Instituto para Políticas Públicas y Desarrollo. (unknown) La memoria de IMESEVI. 75 Sources: CTS México (2009). you could have also linked road safety to larger developmental issues in a closer fashion. | Revue française d'administration publique 2002/3 .no103.N. Isabelle. La movilidad en bicicleta como política pública.Adriana.A. Massin. (2011) Manual integral de movilidad ciclista para ciudades mexicanas. Published by CENAPRA INEGI. You wrote on a major problem (not only in Mexico but also many other emerging economies) presenting data which indicate the level of risks involved. (2002) La Sécurité Routière. The role of the international actors needs further explication as well. Population Census. And you point out briefly that distinct policy instruments have been used to tackle this problem in Mexico. United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Mexico: Subsecretaría de Prevensión y promoción de la salud. More importantly. ITPD Mexico. Prosperity of cities. Pages 451 à 453 Secretaria de Slaud (2008). Mexico:CTS IMESEVI. I. your references & citations are not correctly stated. Analysis of the automotive industry in Mexico. Iniciativa Mexicana e Seguridad Vial.
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