This quote from Gustavo Petro, the Mayor of Bogotá in Colombia, has been popular on social media recently- and captures the essence of a pressing need for a change in our car-centric attitudes and approach to global urban mobility.
As I have alluded to in this previous post, vehicle emissions are a major contributor to air quality problems, and consequently a range of health issues, in urban centres across both developed, and developing, nations. Furthermore, road accidents are increasingly becoming one of the leading killers in developing countries, and globally it is an issue that particularly afflicts young people ’with road traffic injuries now the single biggest source of fatality among 10- to 24-year-olds worldwide’.
These issues (namely air quality and road deaths) are only a few of the wider negative externalities associated with global transport/mobility systems which have become increasingly based on motorised transport- and, in particular, individual car ownership and use which accounts for such a huge proportion of it. There are many others- carbon emissions, the social impact on cities and communities, security of supply of oil…
A shift from a situation where individuals rely on a motor vehicle, and the increasing costs and negative impacts that it entails (both borne individually, and by society more generally), to fulfil their basic lifestyle needs- to one where a fit-for-purpose public transport system (including, crucially, walking and cycling at its core) allows the vast majority of people to achieve their mobility requirements, is a universal need for all societies around the world.