Bloomberg Philanthropies to help make Mumbai safer
Today, Michael Bloomberg, ex-Mayor of New York City, at a meeting with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies would invest in Mumbai – along with nine other cities worldwide – to help develop road safety.
The investment comes as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Road Safety Initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries worldwide. Bloomberg will invest $125 over five years in the initiative, to implement national road safety legislations and city-level interventions that save lives. Their investment is based on the rising trend of road fatalities in India.
“India leads the world in the number of road fatalities, with over 140,000 reported each year. Pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable road users, who, along with two-wheelers, account for close to 80 per cent of the road fatalities in megacities,” said Madhav Pai, Director, WRI Sustainable Cities, India, a prominent partner of Bloomberg Philanthropies since 2010, which is engaged in saving lives through sustainable transport solutions.
“We welcome this new commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies because it will go a long way in reducing traffic injuries and fatalities by making our cities safer by design,” said Pai. “If we can succeed in Mumbai – where there are nearly 20 million residents, and approximately 500 traffic fatalities and over 2,000 serious injuries a year – we will be able to apply the lessons we learn here to other rapidly developing urban cities across the country,” said Pai.
Only 14% of Mumbai’s commuter use private cars and two-wheelers. The rest commute by train, bus, taxis, rickshaws and cycles, and spend a significant time as pedestrians during their working day. Pai is thus excited to be part of a Road Safety initiative that will allow the “majority of the residents in this city to fulfil their aspirations using roads and public spaces that are safer for them.”
A popular road-safety campaign known as Raahgiri, run by WRI in partnership with government and civil society stakeholders, now draws 1,50,000 people to participate in car-free Sundays across six Indian cities. Road safety is a key message of the campaign, which also tries to reduce air pollution and make non-motorised transport a mainstay of city life.
Traffic fatalities claim over 1.2 million lives every year, and are currently on track to become the fifth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030 (WHO 2013). WRI believes that India can avoid many potential accidents, injuries and fatalities by building safety features into the design of city infrastructure such as streets, public spaces and mass transit systems. WRI does this by focusing on the needs of people instead of vehicles, i.e. protecting and embracing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
Notes to Editors:
- WRI India is a research organisation with experts and staff who work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment – the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. We envision an equitable and prosperous planet driven by the wise management of natural resources. We aspire to create a world where the actions of government, business, and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people.
- Through its EMBARQ programme, implemented in 200+ global cities in Asia, Europe, North and South America, WRI has saved 1,922 lives through its city-based initiatives, from 2010 to 2014.
- In India, the programme forges partnerships with the government, private sector and civil society to shift cities away from private vehicle use and toward options like biking, pedestrian walkways and public transit. These initiatives are expected to serve more than one million people every day, improve public health, reduce CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons, and save commuters 35 million travel hours per year; they will also contribute to public health benefits – less road fatalities and exposure to air pollutants and increased physical activities.
- Across India, close to USD 15 billion has been invested in planning and constructing 29 mass transit systems, having a potential to provide safe and affordable commuting options for urban residents. See a recently released WRI publication which iterates how city planners can make access to mass transit in cities safer http://wri-india.org/blog/how-enable-safer-access-mass-transit-indian-cities#sthash.Nw6WuCYN.dpuf
- See also a series of blogs describing WRI’s road safety work in India:http://thecityfix.com/blog/indias-new-road-safety-bill-cities-citizens-save-lives-gdp-jobs-amit-bhatt-divya-kottadiel/
- Our Road safety video: http://bit.ly/1KN5uTp
- Announcement from Bloomberg Philanthropies about its Road Safety Initiative http://www.wtrf.com/story/28091364/bloomberg-philanthropies-selects-ten-cities-five-countries-to-participate-in-new-phase-of-the-global-road-safety-initiative