Billions Lost to Mobility DeficienciesThu, 09/01/2016 - 15:10
Q: To what extent does El Poder del Consumidor influence the transportation segment and its operations?
AC: As a nonprofit, one of our main objectives is to ensure that all users have the best possible transportation options, guaranteeing a safe, timely and comfortable service that creates a positive shift in the city’s traffic flow and behavior with the least environmental impact. The subway network continues to be the city’s backbone, but we believe BRT systems are the best complement, because they require a lower initial investment and are self-sustainable through private management. El Poder del Consumidor also ensures that Mexico’s vehicle park consists of automobiles that comply with international efficiency and safety standards.
DZ: Public transportation is important for urban mobility, also as it relates to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. One of the main directives in our campaign is to design and promote public policies that achieve sustainable mobility practices. El Poder del Consumidor diagnoses the state of the industry to develop studies that provide hard data, which can later be used to create appropriate regulations.
Q: What environmental, health and economic implications does the transportation segment have on the population?
DZ: In Mexico City, we lose 3.3 million man-hours every year because of mobility deficiencies, which converts to a loss of roughly MX$33 billion (US$2.1 billion). We use this statistic collected from the Mexican Institute for Productivity to determine the impact of mobility inefficiencies on other metropolitan areas such as Guadalajara, Puebla, Toluca and Monterrey. Although people would rarely use time saved on their commute at work, the extra time has a direct effect on the quality of life of the population. Average vehicle speed during rush hour has fallen dramatically in recent years, reaching 8km/h now compared to 30km/h in the 1990s.
Progress will always lag while other countries are demolishing upper road levels and Mexico continues to build them. In terms of norms and regulations, Mexico is also still a primary destination for inefficient vehicles. The authorities must draw up suitable legal framework to protect us from such practice. They should promote the use of non-motorized solutions, while keeping the landscape of the metropolitan area in mind and communicating the State of Mexico and Mexico City.
AC: The primary reason behind our mobility issues is the unattractiveness and inefficiency of our public transport services, coupled with the lack of mechanisms that discourage car use. Mexico City’s vehicle park is growing by 200,000 units per year, which creates an impossible scenario for the future. Over 5.5-6 million vehicles operate in the capital’s metropolitan area. That number is expected to reach 10 million by 2020. This will have serious health implications not to mention the impact on public expenses. Mexico is ranked as Latin America’s most troubled country for road accidents and seventh worldwide, which will only worsen if the a vehicle park continues growing.
Q: What has been El Poder del Consumidor’s primary focuse in terms of road safety?
AC: We have been working closely with the Latin New Car Assessment Program (LATIN NCAP), a FIA subsidiary, to define parameters regarding car safety. According to our research Mexico has some of the worst vehicle safety standards in the world. Countries like Germany have policies that demand a minimum of seven safety systems, while in Mexico only seatbelts are mandatory. With modifications to the legal framework, this requirement will increase to three safety systems, which is still far behind international standards. Car accidents are the main cause of death for children between 6 and 14 years old. Although there are obvious priorities regarding road structure, vehicle safety is equally important.