Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sharing another donation in keeping with his urban infrastructure passion and expertise. His philanthropic organization is expected to announce it will spend $125 million during the next five years on programs to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in 10 cities in low- and middle-income countries.
Traffic fatalities are up there in the top 10 killers globally. They are preventable in many ways. Bloomberg Philanthropies reports in the press release that there is urgent action needed or traffic fatalities will rise to 7th.
Bloomberg Philanthropies explain that they will invite 20 cities with populations of more than two million to apply for grants. By January, ten cities will know if they will receive help and benefit:
“Every life lost because of unsafe roads is a tragedy – and most of those tragedies could be avoided with better rules, better enforcement, and smarter infrastructure. City governments can be especially effective at putting those measures in place, because they are often able to move faster and more efficiently than other levels of government,” said Michael R. Bloomberg. “This new funding will be targeted to cities where we can make the biggest difference, that have shown the strongest commitment to taking action, and that have the best ideas for making roads safer. And we’ll help those cities work together to share effective strategies – so that even more lives can be saved.”
The press release adds: “Since Bloomberg Philanthropies began working on road safety in 2010, over 1.8 billion people have been covered by strengthened road safety laws, 65 million people have been exposed to hard-hitting media campaigns promoting road safety, close to 30,000 professionals have been trained on road safety tactics, and local governments have committed $225 million towards infrastructure improvements that will make roads safer.”
Focus is on low-income segments of the cities because growth has overcome safe infrastructure. Strengthening legislation will set new standards at the city level to: curb speeding, encourage helmet use, encourage use of safety belts and child restraints, etc. Better safety legislation and policies are one of the primary goals. Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable, and solutions will be focused on this segment.
Perhaps along with the legislation cities will also create safer bicycling routes. Our country might need to be in the third round as the US still ranks poorly on road safety, based on the 2013 Annual Road Safety Report from the International Transport Forum, which surveys 37 countries and compares all kinds of data on road injuries and fatalities.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is also generous with renewable energy. It assisted in bridging the gap on two African problems — clean affordable energy and reducing energy poverty. With $5 million in low-interest loans to Little Sun, the organization supported a social enterprise which will help bring solar energy to off-grid Sub-Saharan Africa via low-cost solar lamps which replace lamps using kerosene, a dangerous hydrocarbon liquid.
Image: Traffic in Delhi by Prato9x (CC BY-ND-CD 2.0 license)