India's largest city, Mumbai, holds the record for some the world's most crowded trains and congested roads. With the help of the World Bank, Mumbai is revamping its transportation systems, embarking on one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the world. Resettling 100,000 residents and building new roads and train tracks.
One example discussed in a recent event held at World Bank offices in Washington DC concerned an innovative technology solution in the aviation sector, which could reduce global CO2 emissions by 14 million tons!
From now until 2020, 10 million people – the population of a small Latin American country – are expected to die in traffic accidents around the world. Latin America itself is a prime victim of this trend: sadly, the region endures the highest number of fatalities caused by automobile accidents in the world.
However, this number could be halved if every single one of us commit to improving road safety. The international community has already moved this issue at the top of its agenda by joining the United Nations in declaring 2011-2020 as the "Decade of Action for Road Safety", which kicks off this week.
Saving Lives Through Safer Roads (World Bank story) U.N. Decade of Action on Road Safety aims to save five million lives, prevent 50 million road injuries.
This seems to be a good time to stop blaming transport for all the World’s snags and start looking for simple ways of maximizing the benefits of this tool. Yes, you read it right: transport is a tool, for itself it does not create but adds value to goods and services moved where they are needed.
Roads are not sexy. You don’t see glossy ads pleading for people to sponsor a road. You don’t see the construction of a road moving global audiences to tears. There are no celebrities, concerts, wrist-bands for the road. I guess that is because for most people in the developed world, we take roads for granted.
Recently I spent some time around Kerema, which although only 350 km from the country’s capital, feels as one of the most remote and cut-off places in Papua New Guinea. Kerema is the Gulf’s provincial capital and, with its surrounding villages, it has been cut-off from the rest of the country due to a mere 67 km of mostly un-passable road. Under the Roads Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project, the World Bank has been supporting the Government of Papua New Guinea to restore the road. Today, the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the second phase of this project, which will see the rest of the road restored and paved to a proper national standard.
Almost two decades after Nelson Mandela's globally-inspiring long walk to freedom, millions of his compatriots find it prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to simply get to work. Millions more have no work, and the geographical separation of the poor from centers of economic activity has a lot to do with it.
Take the case of Lydia (pictured here), who is a soft-spoken, gentle mother of two boys -- a one-year old baby and a fifteen-year old teenager. Each in his own way needs his single mother's attention and time. Time that she has very little of, because she has to spend close to five hours commuting to and from her place of work, the World Bank office, where she is one of the housekeeping and cleaning ladies.
On the 26th of September 2003 my best friend Jonathan was killed in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa. Jonathan was only 19 years old and had just joined University three weeks prior to the road crash to pursue a degree in information technology. A speeding drunk driver rammed into the vehicle Jonathan was in; causing the car to spin out of control severally. Jonathan along with another friend, were killed on the spot.
The World Bank's 2011 Transport Forum was held from March 28th to 31st, 2011. It focused on 50 Years of Innovation in Transport - Achievements and Future Challenges.
Here is what some World Bank Transport Staff think about transport innovations and the World Bank's contribution so far and its future role.