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“Life Is Sacred” — How Bogotá Reduced Road Deaths and Homicides Together

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Worldwide, about 1.25 million people lose their lives in car crashes every year. But enacting policy to reduce the bloodshed remains a difficult political challenge around the world.

Traffic safety “lacks political salience” and “is often subordinated to other priorities,” according to a recent report from the World Resources Institute [PDF]. Measures to prevent traffic deaths, the organization reports, are often seen as being in conflict with other goals, like reducing congestion.

But WRI’s review of campaigns in Nairobi, Mumbai, and Bogotá points to a way forward: Tying road safety to other issues that have broad public support.

Among these three cities, Bogotá has made the most progress. The city’s traffic fatality rate declined by roughly 50 percent between 1996 and 2006. Key to that result was an initiative to address traffic deaths and homicides in tandem. Anna Bray Sharpin at the World Resources Institute reports:

The 1990s was a turbulent decade for

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