Safe, Clean, Fair & Green Mobility for All
What connects new pavements and speed humps outside schools in Tanzania; new cycle-ways in Costa Rica and Kenya; a successful campaign to include electronic stability control in all cars in the EU; a new carbon tax to encourage fuel efficiency in Chile; a motorcycle helmet safety initiative in Vietnam; technology that works to keep drivers safe on the race track; the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety; and your annual car breakdown membership?
As a UK charity, the FIA Foundation works solely for the public benefit. We were originally established and endowed by the FIA (the world governing body of motorsport, including Formula 1 and the World Rally Championship, and the world federation for motoring clubs) but we are independent and take no direction from any outside body. Our only role is to promote public safety and public health, the protection and preservation of human life, and the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment.
It is a role, and a responsibility, we take extremely seriously.
Supporting consumer crash tests of cars; rating the safety of road infrastructure for all users: pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicle occupants; helping to eliminate leaded fuel; supporting automobile clubs to advocate for road safety; promoting fuel economy and non-motorised transport as part of the fight against climate change; funding the FIA’s ‘Action for Road Safety’ campaign at F1 races around the world – these are some of the initiatives we enable through our philanthropic funding programme. And we are active in advocating for global road safety and sustainable transport policies, currently by working at the UN to encourage inclusion of targets to reduce road traffic injuries and air pollution, and to dramatically improve – and eventually double – the energy efficiency of vehicles.
In September I had the honour to speak in the UN General Assembly hall during the Climate Summit, highlighting the important work of the Foundation-hosted Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) which strives to put car fuel efficiency on a more sustainable track by advising and supporting governments to develop and implement regulatory strategies. But designing cars to use less fuel is only a part of the answer: tackling climate change and ensuring a sustainable future will require changes to the way we plan our lives, our cities and how we move. So the Foundation is increasingly working to support initiatives that promote and enable zero-carbon mobility: cycling and walking.
This is a cross-cutting agenda, because ensuring that people can walk and cycle means addressing urban design, road safety and air quality. It means working with a range of environmental and public health agencies, and with city authorities, partnerships we are enabling as pilot programmes in several countries in Africa. It is an exciting agenda, because the potential for reducing road injury and improving health, for tackling non-communicable diseases at source, for delivering carbon reductions, if this is taken to scale, is immense.
It is an agenda that we believe should begin with school. Providing children with safe routes to school, encouraging them to develop a lifelong habit of walking or cycling, is a crucial part of child development and survival, of quality of life, and of safely growing to independence. Yet more than a million children lose their right to an education through road death or serious road traffic injury every year, and many millions more fear their daily journey to and from school because they have to negotiate heavy, high speed traffic to get to their destination. Many millions are walking daily though dirty air. We all have a duty to build a better future for our children.
This is the vision that powers the FIA Foundation’s ‘Safe, Clean, Fair & Green’ approach. And our new website, launched today, is designed to better communicate these issues and to showcase the work that we and our partners are undertaking around the world to deliver safer and more sustainable mobility. I hope you enjoy reading about our activities, and visit often!