We reported last month on the ten cities and five countries selected as participants in the second phase of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety. Since the announcement, the GRSP team has begun a series of official kick-off meetings with high level representatives from those cities and countries. Through this newsletter, our social media channels and a new section on our website, we shall introduce the cities and countries and the challenges they face in terms of tackling road safety, and we shall provide regular updates on the strategies developed and implemented through the Initiative, and the results achieved through the work of the partners.
The very first kick-off meeting was with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), India. Greater Mumbai, with a population fast approaching 13 million, is the vibrant financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is one of the world’s top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow. The city houses important financial institutions, the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian and multinational corporations as well as many premier scientific institutions. It is also home to India’s famed Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry. The city’s employment opportunities, and its subsequent potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.
As a rapidly growing mega-city, Mumbai faces its share of road safety challenges. There are more than 2 million registered vehicles with more than 450 new registrations every day. The population density is extremely high placing great strain on an oversubscribed public transport system and a road network unable to cope with traffic flow which is only heightened through the presence of street vendors and pedestrians forced onto the roads due to lack of footpath infrastructure.
The road safety situation reflects the challenges and the rising tension between traffic flow and road safety. Each year more than 24,000 people are seriously injured on the roads, a further 470 are killed. The city authorities through the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Mumbai Traffic Police are working towards improving the situation and encouragingly, traffic-related deaths and injuries have been declining in recent years, however many challenges remain. Data collection and analysis needs strengthening. Fines and the judicial system need to better support enforcement strategies. Traffic police need training and equipment to address the high rate of drink driving. First responder training is sorely needed and the media must become more deeply engaged on the subject to support the work of the civic bodies.
In road safety terms, Mumbai is a complex city with a significant population, yet with this, there comes the comensurate potential for saving lives and reducing injuries.
Kicking off in the next two weeks, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Bangkok, Thailand.