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WRI Ross Center Wins Prince Michael International Road Safety Award

Each year, the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award recognizes the most outstanding achievements and innovations to improve road safety and save lives worldwide. On December 12, 2017, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities was named a winner of the Prince Michael Award for its inspired and significant work to reduce traffic fatalities in low and middle-income cities through sustainable transport and urban design.

“The road safety challenges facing developing countries remain considerable,” said HRH Prince Michael of Kent during the award ceremony. “All will be as impressed, as I have been, by the ingenuity and resourcefulness shown.”

More than 1.25 million people are killed around the world each year in traffic accidents – more than 3,400 a day – and projections show that there will be nearly 2 million traffic fatalities annually by 2020. To help prevent and reduce this tragic toll on lives and livelihoods, WRI Ross Center is working to change the paradigm by designing cities for people, not cars. Road safety has long been perceived as the sole responsibility of users – drivers and pedestrians – but the Ross Center’s evidenced-based research shows that shifting the focus to mobility systems rather than users has a far greater impact on saving lives.

“We are honored to receive this esteemed award for our work to make cities and roads safer by design,” said WRI Ross Center Global Director Ani Dasgupta. “WRI Ross Center was among the first organizations to make the case that designing cities and new infrastructure for people rather than for cars – and prioritizing safer modes like walking, cycling and public transport – saves lives and prevents injuries. Long-term change comes from shifts in local and national policies. We will continue to work with governments around the world to improve laws, support decision-makers and bring greater attention to the global agenda on road safety.”

WRI Ross Center-supported road safety transformations in São Paulo. Photos by WRI Brasil

WRI Ross Center works with policymakers and urban planners at the local and national levels to transform cities and transport systems. The Health and Road Safety program’s approach has three central tenets: to help cities avoid increased motorized travel, prioritize safer modes of travel such as public and non-motorized transport, and improve existing mobility systems and infrastructure to maximize safety. WRI Ross Center experts also provide technical support to influence design and investments in new infrastructure through road safety audits, inspections of projects and technical guidance on implementation.

“Our most important work is with communities in developing countries, which are seeing far too many traffic fatalities, especially among the most vulnerable members of society,” said Claudia Adriazola, director of health and road safety and interim director of mobility. “To achieve sustainable and equal cities, we need to make walking, biking and public transport much safer. By working to redesign streets and public spaces, expand mobility options and improve mass transit, WRI is helping cities save lives, improve health and safety, and reduce emissions. We’ve already seen positive and replicable achievements in India, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and look forward to taking the lessons learned to many more cities around the world.”

WRI Ross Center’s road safety work is made possible by the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, with additional funding from FIA Foundation, FedEx Foundation, and Stephen M. Ross Foundation.

Since 1987, the Prince Michael Road Safety Awards have given public recognition to those who have improved road safety throughout Britain. Now the Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognize outstanding achievement and innovation worldwide. The awards are organized and managed by RoadSafe.