ITF-POLIS Safer City Streets Network for liveable cities
Safer City Streets is the global traffic safety network for liveable cities, launched in 2016 at the UN Habitat III conference. Through the network, cities improve their urban road safety performance by sharing data, experiences and knowledge. Today over 40 cities are members. The network is managed by the International Transport Forum (ITF), which collects, validates and analyses relevant data from cities in a dedicated database.
EASST’s Gela Kvashilava of the Partnership for Road Safety in Georgia and EASST Director Emma MacLennan were among the speakers at the Network’s 4th meeting in London and Manchester, organised by the ITF and POLIS, the network of European cities working to develop innovative transport technologies and policies. Other speakers included the Director of Vision Zero for Transport for London and representatives of Greater Manchester, Buenos Aires, Aarhus, Amsterdam and Utrecht. The event was sponsored by the FIA and FIA Foundation.
Discussions focussed on how to prioritise people in city design and transport planning. Gela Kvashilava described Tbilisi’s journey towards building cycle lanes “inviting people onto the streets again.” Widening and improving walkways and cycling lanes, developing more riverside parks and attractions, and reducing adjacent highway speeds and volumes, could attract more pedestrians and cyclists as is common in other major cities. But much more remains to be done.
Emma MacLennan reported that surveys by EASST partners of people with disabilities in four cities (Chisinau, Minsk, Baku and Bishkek) show that many people never leave their immediate local communities due to lack of accessible transport. Mobility as pedestrians or wheelchair users, access to public transport and protection from hazards are not generally available to them. This is damaging for everyone: Cities accessible to people with disabilities are also safer and more user-friendly for all families with pushchairs, elderly people, women, children, and even tourists. Well-planned walkways boost customer footfall for businesses, increase retail sales and help local employment and incomes.
The event saw the launch of a new report by the ITF on “Safer City Streets: Global Benchmarking for Urban Safety.” The ITF collected mobility and road safety data from 31 cities and developed indicators to evaluate, monitor and benchmark road safety outcomes. The exercise revealed considerable differences in road safety performance, suggesting cities should do much more to adopt and promote best practice. “Our benchmarking exercise provides evidence for the large differences between cities that experts long assumed. What’s important is that citizens and their elected officials can now see black on white how their city compares to others,” said Alexandre Santacreu, Safer City Streets project lead at the International Transport Forum.
The report recommends that cities should:
- create mobility observatories, to collect and report on a wide range of urban mobility and road safety data including on behaviours, attitudes and enforcement;
- collect traffic casualty data from hospitals, not only from police records, to obtain more accurate data;
- adopt ambitious targets to reduce the number of road casualties in cities.
While most of the cities engaged in the exercise are from Europe or the Americas, these recommendations are valid in countries where EASST works too. Our partners are working with municipalities and national agencies whenever possible to improve data collection, evidence-based enforcement and best practice in road safety management.