It’s easy to take for granted the transportation options that we have in the United States. These various systems allow us to get from place to place efficiently and safely without always needing to rely on an automobile.
Claudia Adriazola, who works for a Washington D.C.-based global agency called the World Resources Institute, told Fast Forward that other countries don’t always have the same level of safe and convenient public transportation options.
“[The United States] has a lot of cities that have really good transportation systems,” Claudia said. “Like the city we are in right now, Washington D.C. You have a metro. You have a bus system. You have bike lanes. But many other cities where we work in the world don’t have that yet.”
By “we,” Claudia means the World Resources Institute, of which she is the health and road safety director. The World Resources Institute is an organization spanning more than 50 countries that’s devoted to helping nations across the globe enhance their citizens’ quality of life. Part of this mission includes implementing sustainable transportation that connects communities and is reliably safe and effective.
In Guadalajara, Mexico, for example, Claudia’s team helped to create the city’s first bus rapid transit system. Similar to a rail system, a bus rapid transit system features high-capacity buses traveling in lanes that are separated from traffic, making stops at designated bus stations around the city. Implementing a bus rapid transit system gave the residents of Guadalajara a way to travel safely, conveniently, and sustainably without being stuck in heavy traffic.
“Many other cities in Mexico have replicated this example because it was so successful,” Claudia said.
This project is just one example of the work Claudia does to improve transportation in cities around the world. She and her colleagues are currently examining traffic safety in at least 10 different locations globally. Based on what they find, they can offer their suggestions and support to help improve safety, efficiency, and sustainability in the transportation system.
“I look at a city and I see what the needs are that the city has. Sometimes, the city can articulate these issues by itself. And sometimes we need to support the city. To help them understand the problems that are happening there, and what the solutions are that we have seen work in other places,” Claudia said.
Every city and traffic system is unique. So what works to improve safety might vary from place to place or country to country.
“Right now we are working on trying to support policy improvements in traffic safety in China,” Claudia said. “When I propose an idea, my colleagues might say, ‘Well, that’s not exactly what resonates here in China—what about this other idea?’ And we discuss a lot until we find a solution that will help save people, that will improve the quality of life in China, and also meet the goals that we have established at the beginning of the year.”
Ultimately, by improving public transportation systems around the world, the World Resources Institute is enhancing people’s quality of life on a daily basis.
“When you design—and when you operate very safely—a mass transit system, it becomes really an answer for mobility and safety in the city,” Claudia said.
Check out the video above to hear more clips from our interview with Claudia and visit the World Resources Institute homepage to learn more about their important mission!