Cities are growing in population worldwide. Over half of the global population now lives in urban areas, and that figure is expected to increase to 75% by 2050. However, if current trends continue, more people will mean more cars than cities can support. The number of cars worldwide has already surpassed one billion, and it could reach 2 billion by 2020. With more cars on the road, the risk of pedestrian fatalities and accidents in general will increase tremendously, and of course, an increase in cars means an increase in pollution. Driving longer distances (increasing vehicle miles traveled per individual) heightens the risk of crashes as well.
A presentation given by Embarq, an international organization that strives to implement sustainable transportation policies and practices, stressed the potential health and safety threats presented by high volumes of cars in cities. In order to reduce urban traffic fatalities, they advocate quality mass transit, improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and other strategies that both promote health and safety. By encouraging walking and multi-modal transportation, cities can work toward a more sustainable future.