In the context of the 7th UN Global Road Safety Week, which ran between 15 and 21 May 2023, WHO's Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, called on European governments to ensure that the normalisation of mobility after the Covid19 pandemic went in the direction of sustainable mobility. “We must collectively take advantage of this moment in time to rethink and redo mobility for the well-being of people and the planet, now and for future generations,” he said.
The need for action is visible in many different areas. Road traffic accident statistics show that there are 70,000 deaths in Europe each year, along with hundreds of thousands of non-fatal injuries resulting from crashes. The young, so those between 5 and 29 years' old, suffer in particular, as road accidents are the largest cause of death amongst young people. In addition, it is important to reduce CO2 emissions to address the climate challenge, as well as supporting people to reconnect post Covid.
Director Kluge called for the redesign of roads and public spaces to support accessibility and the mobility needs of the most vulnerable groups, who tend to benefit less from motorised transport, so children, women, elderly people and people with reduced mobility. This needs investments in active modes of transport, in public transport and in urban structures that provide access to daily needs within walking or cycling distance.
In supporting sustainable mobility services and infrastructure, and in encouraging their use, Director Kluge sees benefits not only for health, integration and addressing the climate challenge, but also in creating liveable streets for every community.
- Publication date
- 30 May 2023
- Policy and research