Why does sharing the road matter?

No matter where you live or how you travel, everyone begins and ends each trip as a pedestrian. In cities across the world many people rely almost exclusively on walking and cycling as their primary forms of mobility. But despite the high societal costs, increasing the road space for cars continues to be a priority for investors and governments 

The Share the Road Programme supports governments and other stakeholders in developing countries around the world to move away from prioritizing the car-driving minority, towards investing in infrastructure for the majority; those who walk and cycle. 

The programme does this through 

  • Global advocacy and communication
  • Development of tools and guidance
  • In-country technical assistance such as developing policies which promote investment in walking and cycling infrastructure

The overall goal of the programme is to introduce policies in government and donor agencies which act as a catalyst for systematic investments in walking and cycling road infrastructure.

The Programme was launched by UNEP and the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society in 2008 and works towards achieving benefits for the environment, safety and accessibility. 

Investing in infrastructure for walking and cycling leads to massive benefits for

  • The environment -  through less pollution and greenhouse gases
  • Safety - through the protection of vulnerable road users from high-speed traffic
  • Accessibility - by providing the majority of global citizens with a safe and affordable means of travel to reach basic services and connect with other transport options such as buses and trains.

share the road

The impact of ignoring pedestrians and cyclists 

Around the world, investment patterns in road infrastructure continue to favor the car.  Despite the high societal costs, and the obvious benefits of prioritization of space for the majority (people who walk and cycle), increasing the road space for cars continues to be a priority for investors and governments.  The consequences are scary: 

  • Every 30 seconds someone dies in a road crash, that’s over 1.2 million people every year dying on the world’s roads. The World Health Organization’s Global Road Safety Report of 2015 shows that, worst still, half of these deaths are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Tragically, 500 children die every day in road crashes. 
  • Millions more people die from the outdoor air pollution (3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012) that road traffic contributes to. 
  • If that wasn’t enough, vehicle emissions are also fuelling climate change (the transport sector is responsible for 27% of energy-related CO2 emissions globally).