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São Paulo plans to cut traffic fatalities by half in 10 years

26 June 2019

Story from the City Fix.

Sao Paulo is planning to become the first Bazilian city to adopt a road safety plan based on the ''Safe System'' approach.

Developed with the technical support of WRI Ross Center along with the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility and the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, the Vida Segura (or “Safe Life”) plan solidifies the city’s place at the forefront of road safety leadership and heralds a bold new goal: Reduce the traffic fatality rate by more than half in 10 years, to 3 deaths per 100,000 people. This would put São Paulo among the safest cities in the world.

In recognizing that no traffic fatality is acceptable, São Paulo demonstrates its shift to the Safe System mentality: instead of solely trying to make individuals more obedient to traffic rules, the city has begun prioritizing integrated actions that make the entire mobility system safer and able to forgive human error.

Vida Segura’s key action areas include urban mobility and street design, speed management, regulation and enforcement, education, and post-crash response. Across these areas, four aspects of the plan are especially crucial to São Paulo’s approach to road safety:

1. Using Open Data to Drive Solutions

Data collection and processing is critical to ensuring more evidence-based road safety management and quality analysis of problems. One of the innovative aspects of São Paulo’s plan is making data from municipal radar equipment public, from traffic levels to real-time vehicle speeds. This data will be available on an open digital platform so it can be used by the private sector and civil society to monitor progress, develop innovative solutions and advocate for improvements.

2. Redesigning Streets for the Most Vulnerable

Fundamental to the Safe System approach is the redesign of physical environments to protect the most vulnerable road users.

Starting with the most dangerous transit corridors in the city, São Paulo plans to implement low-speed zones, design safe school walking routes, renovate and extend sidewalks, expand the cycling network, implement clear signage, lengthen pedestrian and cyclist crossing times, and increase monitoring by traffic officers.

These interventions have already been successfully deployed in the busy M’Boi Mirim Corridor, where improvements in road design, signage, crossing times and other areas resulted in a 68% reduction in fatalities in just one year.

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