Vision Zero for Youth Awards presented to Addis Ababa, Bogotá, and Milwaukee
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bogotá, Colombia, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin have been named recipients of the 2021 Vision Zero for Youth Awards by the National Center for Safe Routes to School with support of the FIA Foundation.
The Award recognizes road safety practices that can inspire other cities to take bold steps to reach zero traffic deaths among children and youth in their communities. This year, the award also recognizes efforts to support safe walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Winners were celebrated at a virtual event hosted by the Road to Zero, FIA Foundation, and National Center for Safe Routes to School during UN Global Road Safety Week.
In Bogotá, city leadership has been continuing and building upon efforts from the prior administration, working to foster a culture of safe, active transportation for children and youth, including: committing to a specific target of zero road fatalities among youth; implementing traffic calming measures to decrease speed in school zones; encouraging safe biking and walking by promoting ‘ciempiés’ (a walking school bus) and bike to school initiatives, ultimately helping more than 6,000 children from 100 schools; reducing speeds around schools; and creating public spaces to encourage all ages to walk.
"We are honored to have been granted this award by the Vision Zero for Youth committee. Bogotá is devoted to achieving a zero youth road fatalities target and this is recognition of that effort,” said Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. “We are building a caring city, where citizens’ wellbeing is at the heart of every decision, and children are of course a big part of it. If children feel safe on the streets and the city, so will adults. We look forward to sharing this experience with other cities to collectively strengthen our policies towards safe mobility."
Through creative, community-driven initiatives, Milwaukee’s Safe Routes to School Program and its partners not only continued but also advanced efforts to: support safe walking and biking for youth, especially youth of color and in low-income neighborhoods during the COVID-19 pandemic; continue to safely host summer bicycle camps and re-tool Safe Routes to School program elements into a ‘Safe Routes from Home’ curriculum; and modify their program to train school staff to ride a bike to school safely during the pandemic.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett noted, “Fostering the next generation of civic leaders is vital to ensuring healthy neighborhoods and safe streets in Milwaukee for decades to come. This award shows what can be achieved when everyone, especially our youth, brings their creativity and local knowledge to the table.”
Addis Ababa has demonstrated a sustained commitment to prioritizing children and youth in efforts to advance road safety and mobility for all road users, including: prioritizing youth pedestrians in road safety policy; implementing traffic calming measures to decrease speed in school zones; providing and improving pedestrian infrastructure in school zones; and supporting monthly car-free “streets for people” days to change mindsets around the use of urban space. The World Resources Institute, a Child Health Initiative partner, has played a key role.
“We are honored to recognize these cities for their commitment to prioritizing, advancing and promoting road safety and mobility, especially for children and youth, in their cities,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director, National Center for Safe Routes to School, UNC Highway Safety Research Center. “We hope recognizing the outstanding achievements of these cities and their partners will inspire other cities take bold steps to reach zero traffic deaths among children and youth in their communities too.”
Notably, the cities continued—and even expanded—their efforts to advance road safety and mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Addis Ababa, the COVID-19 pandemic has made walking and cycling the preferred mode of transportation and the Ministry of Transport is integrating public transport systems with walking and cycling infrastructure to improve resilience in future. In Bogotá, an effort to help essential workers get around during the public health crisis and reduce the use of public transportation to minimize passenger exposure to COVID-19 resulted in the creation of an additional 80 km of provisional bike lanes to expand the existing 550 km biking network. The Mayor is considering making these lanes permanent because of this success. Milwaukee’s Safe Routes participants ‘pedaled for good’ by delivering food to a community center to address food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.
“These awardees show that public demand and political will to protect children on our roads is greater than ever, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These cities show that we can harness this to create lasting change through low-cost solutions that allow children to get outside safely, protecting them from both road traffic injuries and COVID-19,” said Natalie Draisin, Director of the North America Office & United Nations Representative at the FIA Foundation. “We’d like to thank our committee of US road safety leaders for their efforts to select the recipient of this prestigious award.”