EASST marks UN Global Road Safety Week in London and across the region with calls to #RethinkMobility
Last week, EASST partners marked the UN Global Road Safety Week by organising events and activities and calling on governments to #RethinkMobility.
This year’s road safety week focused on sustainable transport, in particular the need to shift to walking, cycling and using public transport. Road safety is both a prerequisite for and an outcome of this shift.
For several EASST partners, the week began in London where EASST and the Towards Zero Foundation hosted an expert roundtable at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The discussion, which was chaired by EASST Director Emma MacLennan, called for a new way of thinking when it comes to safer and more sustainable transport systems. It focused on the need to merge the principles of both the Safe System approach to road safety and the Avoid-Shift-Improve approach to sustainable transport. The end result hopefully being zero road fatalities and emissions on the world’s roads by 2050. This is #MissionZero2050.
The discussion also centred on how we reach this target through a strategy of backcasting: an innovative approach to break free from the status quo and identify meaningful pathways to change.
This intervention from David Ward, Executive President of the Towards Zero Foundation at UNEP’s International Resource Panel in 2021 uses the case of vehicle safety to explain how merging these paradigms can be used to #RethinkMobility and make progress t
Within their countries, EASST partners used the framework of UN Global Road Safety Week to engage with decision makers and communities on issues of road safety and how it interconnects with the sustainability agenda. Here are some examples:
The Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) called a meeting of the National Road Safety Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, to begin developing the new National Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030 which is to be completed in the next three months. Special emphasis was given to cooperation between the authorities and civil society in this sector, as well as the need to monitor Moldova’s road infrastructure.
The ACM also held a number of local activities with schools and universities across the country, including working with UNICEF at the “Dimitrie Cantemir” Theoretical High School in Sângerei city to engage students in painting a new zebra crossing and installing other low-cost traffic calming measures.
Public Association ‘Road Safety’ (PARS) organised a showcase event with the Bishkek Passenger Transport Enterprise (BPTE) to promote the use of public transport and draw attention to issues such as affordability, safety and accessibility.
Chinara Kasmambetova, founder and director of PARS also appeared on a daytime talk show on public broadcast station OTRK TV to talk about why politicians should #RethinkMobility and how investment in mass transit can help to alleviate Bishkek’s growing problem of traffic congestion and build a more resilient city.
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
Young Generation of Tajikistan (YGT) and the National Federation of Autosport and Karting of Uzbekistan (NAFKU) both organised events aimed at improving pedestrian and cycle safety. The events built on work they are doing under the EASST project Reclaiming Space for Walking and Cycling in Central Asia which is funded through the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme.
In the lead up to the first ever Tajikistan Active Travel Youth Summit in September, YGT launched a campaign that will run throughout the summer calling on key stakeholders to prioritise walking and cycling as an ‘everyday’ modes of transport – especially on university campuses and in public parks.
In Uzbekistan, NAFKU organised cycle safety training for young people and teamed up with Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent to host a discussion with students on what they see as the barriers to active mobility in the city, and how they think these barriers can be overcome.
EASST partners will continue to work across all these areas as they take their projects forwards. Indeed, the goal behind road safety week extends well beyond 7 days. We look forward to seeing the impact that this year’s activities will have in the long term.