Safety & Security Working Group meets to discuss capacity building for road safety

On Tuesday 30th March POLIS’ Safety and Security Working Group convened to discuss building capacity for road safety. When it comes to the solutions, the road to vision zero is not zero sum.

Pedestrian and cyclist traffic fatalities remain high in many European urban areas, but progress is possible. Oslo, Helsinki and Pontevedra recorded zero road deaths in 2019, and several other European cities are achieving substantive reductions.

These cities are on to something, and others should follow – however, acknowledging the good practice of others is one thing; translating this into one’s own operations is quite another.

The adoption of new principles, guidelines and methods, does not occur “at the flick of a switch”. For this reason, capacity building is a top priority for the POLIS Working Group on Safety & Security.

The Working Group, chaired by Suzzanne Anderson from Gothenburg, met for an in-depth discussion on this exact topic.

The discussion began with a stark reminder of our capabilities for eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries in city streets.

The meeting drew participants from Ile-de-FranceTransport for LondonLisbon, and Brussels, with two eminent speakers to feed a practical discussion.

First up, the case of Pontevedra. This city from Galicia, Spain, won the first European Urban Road Safety Award. No wonder: they have reduced road fatalities in the city consistently since 1999, impressively achieving zero road deaths between 2011 and 2018.

Following this, Kirsten De Mulder, Team Manager for Professional Training at the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (VSV), presented their “Road Safety Coaching for Municipalities”. The initiative assists, mayors, mobility officers​ and law enforcement in engineering and enforcing traffic safety, while engaging schools and cyclist unions in such projects.

This was followed by a rigorous debate amongst participants about the way forward. Education and communication emerged as central pillars for improving road safety infrastructure and engaging local communities in solutions which create a paradigm shift in thinking around safety, not simply short-term remedies.

As cities and regions move forward with innovative measures like vision zero, sharing solutions and exchanging ideas will be ever more imperative.


For any questions regarding the group please contact Pedro Homem de Gouveia.

POLIS working groups are open to our members. If you are interested in finding out more about our membership options, please contact Pasquale Cancellara.


Staff member(s)