Vol. 319. no. 5864, pp. 742 - 743
Calming Traffic on Bogotá's Killing Streets
With humor, education, and tough laws, this Colombian city has dramatically reduced traffic injuries and deaths
Long branded as one of the world's most dangerous cities, Bogotá, Colombia, has won plaudits for cutting its murder rate by more than 70% during the past decade. But this city of 7 million people has received far less attention for a dramatic decline in a more common danger that plagues urban areas everywhere: traffic-related injuries and deaths.
With a combination of innovative education campaigns, an overhaul of its public transportation system, strict law enforcement, and redesign of streets and highways, Bogotá has made moving from place to place safer and more efficient. "In 1997, everything was a mess and we were losing the battle," says Dario Hildalgo, a transportation engineer from Bogotá who is now with the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. "To solve the problems, we needed a miracle. The miracle happened."
Mark Rosenberg, the former head of injury prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, says Bogotá is a model for the world. "Bogotá is not unique in having this problem, but it is unique in solving it," says Rosenberg, who now heads the nonprofit Task Force for Child Survival and Development in Decatur, Georgia.