This is an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Laura Ballesteros, Deputy Minister of Planning at SEMOVI, first published in Mexico Automotive Review 2017. Get your hard copy of Mexico Automotive Review or check out the digital version to get more insights from the key decision makers shaping Mexico’s automotive industry.
The Ministry of Mobility of Mexico City (SEMOVI) is in charge of all regulations related to public and private transportation within Mexico City. Its goal is to consolidate the city’s regulations with the safety of all users and the preservation of the environment.
Q: Considering Mexico City’s environmental issues, what are the government’s plans to implement permanent driving restrictions?
A: In 2014, Mexico City underwent many changes regarding mobility after the implementation of the new Mobility Law and the many programs related to road safety. The government’s goal was to make private vehicles only one of many options for transportation, fostering the implementation of carpooling when possible. To do that, we needed to invest in sustainable mobility with safe, connected and quality public transportation. This included more space for mobility options like Metrobús and Ecobici, enough space to promote the use of private bicycles and sustainable buses to replace the current microbus fleet.
To date, almost 45 percent of the transit in Mexico City is generated downtown, making driving almost impossible, particularly at rush hour. We tried to balance the use of private and public transportation in Mexico City by publishing new parking standards in July 2017. One of these eliminated the obligation for parking space delimitation in new developments in an effort to better organize the city’s parking layout. Many international studies show that bad planning of parking lots and an excess of them can lead to additional traffic. A reduction in parking lot infrastructure could help us invest in sustainable public transportation like Metro and Metrobús. These standards are the most important the city has published in recent years and together with Guadalajara we are leading this transformation in Latin America.
Q: How close is the government to achieving its goal of reducing road fatalities by 35 percent in 2018?
A: Road safety is the main goal. Almost 60 percent of the people who die in a traffic accident are pedestrians and cyclists, while the other 40 percent are people driving a vehicle. All mobility options must offer the same safety conditions, even when some are more vulnerable than others, whichis the main reason why the city streets have evolved.
We have adopted Vision Zero as our road safety policy. Implemented in 2015, this is part of a global strategy that works to eliminate road fatalities in urban areas. Most road accidents can be avoided and because of that, the city has implemented stricter speed reduction regulations. According to the World Health Organization, this strategy helped us reduce road fatalities by 20 percent from 2015 to 2017. This perfectly matches Mexico City’s plan to reduce road fatalities by 35 percent by 2018. SEMOVI is also working to implement driving tests, the construction of safe pedestrian routes and training for transport operators so they can help when an accident occurs.
Q: Now that OEMs are transforming their business models from car sellers to mobility providers, what do you see as the main opportunity to transform Mexico City’s mobility?
A: The global trend is to offer mobility as a service. This is an offshoot of the fourth industrial revolution. The industry is in constant change and now alliances are being formed between technology companies and OEMs.
Mobility has two elements, one related to hyper-specialized services and the other to interconnected services, both of which are controlled through a digital platform that allows companies to manage data. Following that concept, companies can participate in innovation of mobility services in five different ways: road management, parking space management, data management, mobility platforms and management of public spaces. An innovation in any of these five sectors is valuable for the city when considering sustainability, emissions reduction and the efficient use of vehicles.