What comes to mind when you think about public health issues – apart from the coronavirus pandemic? Increasing access to reproductive health care? Combating the opioid epidemic? Strengthening health data?
One public health challenge that receives limited attention and insufficient resources is road safety. Our founder, Mike Bloomberg, is the WHO’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. Given that road traffic crashes kill nearly 1.35 million people and injure as many as 50 million every year, this is a major focus in his role. Weak and inadequate road safety laws, minimal or nonexistent vehicle safety standards, and streets designed solely for vehicle use – and not pedestrians – are serious threats to road safety, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
In order to save lives on the road, Bloomberg Philanthropies has funded road safety efforts since 2007, and will continue to support the Initiative for Global Road Safety through 2025. It supports strengthening road safety laws and implementing evidence-based interventions in cities and countries across Latin America, Africa, and Asia, with a particular focus on speed management.
In this episode, Kelly Larson of the Bloomberg Philanthropies public health team sits down with Soames Job, Head of the Global Road Safety Facility and Global Lead for Road Safety with the World Bank. They discuss how the World Bank works with countries around the world on road safety initiatives, how the pandemic has changed the way people drive, and how the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility works to ensure safe speeds and enforcement of speed limits around the world.
Kelly Larson also sits down with Juanjo Mendez, the Secretary of Transportation of the City of Buenos Aires, to discuss how the city is working to reduce fatalities by 50% in the next 10 years, why the pandemic was an opportunity to strengthen road safety in Buenos Aires, and the role that reducing speeds plays in saving lives.