Fortaleza, Brazil receives Vision Zero for Youth Leadership Award

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Creating safer streets starting where youth walk and bike with the goal of building safer, healthier communities for everyone. That’s been a goal in Fortaleza and the Brazilian city’s efforts to achieve that goal has earned it the first-ever International Vision Zero for Youth Leadership Award.

From 2016 to 2018, the City of Fortaleza saw a 20.7 percent reduction in child injuries and deaths from all traffic-related crashes, including pedestrians.

"We are honored to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of a city building upon a strong foundation of mobility to foster Fortaleza’s next generation of road users with a focus on safe walking, biking and transit use," said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director, National Center for Safe Routes to School, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. "Fortaleza’s commitment to children – including their need for play, community, access to child-friendly spaces, and opportunity for active transportation – is one we hope will be emulated by other cities worldwide."

The International Vision Zero for Youth Leadership Award recognizes and highlights noteworthy road safety practices with the goal of inspiring other cities to take bold steps to reach zero traffic deaths among children and youth. Fortaleza has earned international recognition for its efforts to prioritize mobility and safety for all road users. The city was selected as the first International Award recipient because of its work to create a culture of active transportation for children and youth, including:

  • implementing traffic calming measures to decrease speed including in places where children walk and bicycle;
  • redesigning areas traditionally used only by motorized vehicles as communal areas for recreation, education, and activity;
  • creating programs with a focus on the whole child, ensuring children can not only travel safely, but also engage meaningfully in environments; and
  • prioritizing youth in road safety policies.

"Research tells us today that the early years of life are crucial for human brain development. That´s why we have been concerned about investing in the improvement of public spaces in our city, including streets and squares, for example, so that children can play and interact with friends and family," said Roberto Cláudio, Mayor of Fortaleza. "That means investing in our future. The path to a better quality of life in our society is also through safer streets."

The Award was presented by Zoleka Mandela, Global Ambassador of the Child Health Initiative and granddaughter of former South African President Nelson Mandela, to Patrícia Macêdo, Secretary of International Affairs for the city of Fortaleza, on February 17, 2020. The presentation took place at the event This is My Street, Safe and Healthy Journeys for Children and Youth organized by the FIA Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, as an official pre-event of the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety. Delegates and representatives from the world of industry and research, international institutions and organizations, and practitioners from around the world were gathered in Stockholm for the international Conference to share successes and lessons from the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020; chart future strategic directions for global road safety up to 2030 and beyond; and define ways to accelerate action on proven strategies to save lives.

Speaking at the event, Zoleka Mandela said: "Vision Zero for Youth puts young people at the very heart of the agenda for road safety. We know that our children and young people are most at risk of violent road death and injury, even though the simple, proven solutions are right at hand. We must celebrate cities like Fortaleza, which have gone beyond lip service and have made real changes to save lives. Vison Zero can, and should, be implemented on every street."

The Award is presented by the Vision Zero for Youth initiative, led by the National Center for Safe Routes to School with support from the FIA Foundation. The International Award is an expansion of an award program that began in the U.S. It is guided by the International Vision Zero for Youth Committee, comprised of international road safety organizations. The city of Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Unified School District and New York City with its Vision Zero Task Force were the first two Award winners in the United States.

To learn more about the Vision Zero for Youth and the International Award, including a four-page fact sheet about Fortaleza’s comprehensive transportation safety initiatives and efforts, visit: