WHO defines the regions as follows: America includes North-, Middle- and South America. Europe includes the Russian Federation. Western Pacific includes Australia, Mongolia and China. South-East Asia includes India. Eastern Mediterranean includes Near East, Middle East and most Arab countries.
The accident rates have been shown as a pie diagram for more visual clarity, although this is not proper mathematical practice. (Source: Allianz)
The Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge with a structure 343 meters high, was opened in 2004 to help create a direct transport route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast. Infrastructure like this is the backbone of the global economy and fundamental to social progress and political stability.
Colossal investments are required in the next few decades to replace or repair existing infrastructure and deliver new projects to serve expanding, urbanizing populations in emerging economies. The OECD estimates average worldwide investment for new infrastructure, or for maintenance of existing infrastructure, to be around $1.8 trillion annually from 2010 to 2030.
This photo gallery examines where that money needs to go. See here for more on What holds the world together. (Source: Reuters)
Getting water to the world’s people will take up to half of annual global infrastructure expenditure ($900 billion) estimates the OECD. The task is made more challenging by over-exploitation, wastage, pollution and climate change affecting the 0.3% of the world's water that is actually available for human use.
In advanced economies, by 2030 per capita water availability will be 40% lower than in 1959 and so aging water infrastructure requires upgrading and new sources tapped. In London, for example, up to 50% of the water produced leaks away because some pipes date from the 1800s.
In emerging economies, new infrastructure is required to meet expanding demand, nowhere more so than in China where the South North Water Diversion Project aims to bring water from the Yangtze River to the arid but highly industrialized north. This graphic shows Where water matters most. (Source: Reuters)
An aerial view of a raw sewage treatment plant being built in Managua, Nicaragua, with German government aid in 2009. The lake alongside had been receiving raw sewage from Managua's one million residents since 1920.
Sanitation infrastructure is just as important as the water supply because water borne diseases take an enormous toll on vulnerable populations with a crippling knock-on effect for health, education and economic productivity. Only about 58% of the world’s population has access to sanitation, reports the OECD. The greatest demand is in the emerging countries. China is expected to spend more than $200 billion by 2025, India about $100 billion and, for the US, the figure will probably be $150 billion. (Source: Reuters)
The deadly collapse of a highway bridge in Minneapolis in 2007 highlighted the fact that much of the road infrastructure in the US is aging and in some cases crumbling. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called for a $50 billion program for urgent repairs to roads, bridges and railways.
Globally, around $200 billion will be spent on road maintenance and construction per year, estimates the OECD, as vehicle numbers worldwide double by 2030. In Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Russia the number of vehicles is expected to triple. For example, India is planning to triple the length of its expressways (an increase of 1,600km) in the coming years. (Source: Reuters)
Girls study in the light of candles during a power-cut in north India in 2012 which left more than 300 million people without power in the worst blackout for more than a decade, highlighting chronic infrastructure woes holding back Asia's third-largest economy.
Electricity blackouts don’t just happen in developing countries; Europe and the US have suffered too in recent years. The OECD reckons that the world will spend about $210 billion annually on supplying power to people with China having to invest some $2 trillion up to 2030 on power plants to meet growing demand for energy. North America will not be far behind while Africa and India will need to deliver huge amounts of new electricity generating capacity.
For more, watch this video in which we ask the European Commission What is Europe’s energy future? (Source: Reuters)
An offshore wind farm being built off the Belgian coast where, according to reports, one day there could be an artificial island using a pumped-hydro system to store excess wind energy. Reaching the world’s agreed 2050 goals of 80% reductions in CO2 emissions will require a fundamental revolution in the way we generate and use power.
This is possible, according to a study commissioned by the WWF which says that by mid-century world energy needs could be met almost exclusively by renewable energies. At present wind and solar power are attracting the lion’s share of investment in renewables, which hit record highs in 2011 of nearly $260 billion and will reach $461 billion in 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Europe, the US and China will lead the way.
To see how pumped hydro energy storage works read Energy storage: power from the Alps (Source: Reuters)
Connecting people to telephone, mobile telephone and internet infrastructure requires enormous investments in backbone networks like subsea cables, fiber optic transmission lines, satellites and mobile phone towers. While we think of the internet as ubiquitous, in fact there remains huge scope for growth with approximately 3.5 billion potential new users out there.
In the US nearly 80% of the population is already online, according to Allianz Global Investors, while the figure is a bit over 60% in Europe, and somewhat more than 25% in Asia. Demand for new infrastructure is highest in Asia and Africa where annual growth rates are 20% every year and more than 30% respectively. (Source: Reuters)
The site of a newly opened distribution hub of the gas pipeline Gazelle is pictured in Primda January 14, 2013. German RWE's Czech unit Net4Gas opened the pipeline to bring Russian gas from northern to southern Germany through the Czech Republic, a link that will boost regional energy security.
The International Energy Agency has calculated that the world must invest $10 trillion in oil and $9.5 trillion in natural gas over the next 25 years to keep energy prices from soaring. It foresees a scenario in which global use of gas rises by more than 50% from 2010 levels and accounts for more than one-quarter of global energy demand by 2035. (Source: Reuters)
Two workers walk along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway as they check the railway track. As populations in emerging economies become more mobile and freight traffic also increases, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects global rail travel to double by 2050 under its ‘new policies’ scenario in which announced energy policies are actually delivered.
To meet this demand the IEA foresees the world adding 335,000 rail track kilometres by 2050, a 30% increase on 2010 levels and enough to circle the globe eight times. This includes about 30,000km of already planned and under construction high speed rail developments, with 60% of that growth in China. China and India will account for nearly one?quarter of the new conventional rail infrastructure. (Source: Reuters)
Aviation is one of the fastest growing transport sectors with traffic at the world’s biggest airports growing by about 10% to 15% annually according to the Airport Council International. It requires investment in new airports and connecting infrastructure as well as updated air traffic management systems to help make flying more fuel efficient and sustainable.
In China alone, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects an increase of almost 900 million passengers from 2010 to 2015, and China consequently plans to build 56 new airports by the end of 2016. IATA forecasts that global air passenger traffic will increase by an average of 5.3% per annum between 2012 and 2016 to reach 3.6 billion passengers, from the 2.8 billion carried in 2011.
To learn more about how to make aviation more climate friendly read Efficient aviation: The sky is the limit (Source: Reuters)
As the increasing world population, greater wealth and growing globalisation drive global trade in goods and services, there will be increased demand for port facilities to distribute and import products worldwide, particularly in fast-expanding exporting economies such as Brazil, where an expansion of ports infrastructure is currently underway. The OECD estimates that for all cargo types, including petroleum products, port infrastructure investments of $630 billion will be required from 2015 to 2030. (Source: Reuters)
A young girl reads the day's lessons at a school near Xia Xia, Mozambique. Dilapidated or non-existent education facilities are a drag on socio-economic development as they impact on the educational attainment of future generations. Social infrastructure like schools will be just as critical as economic infrastructure in the decades to come, particularly for young, growing populations in the developing world.
UNESCO’s ‘Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2012’ reports that globally there are still 61 million children out of school and around 200 million 15 to 24 year olds who have not completed a primary school education. These people need education infrastructure.
For a different perspective on population growth and education read Human capital - Celebrating the educated century (Source: Reuters)
Healthcare spending around the world is growing at such pace that many observers regard it as unsustainable in the long term. In industrialized economies the increased costs are largely accounted for by aging populations, greater longevity, and the related spread of chronic diseases, which account for more than 60% of healthcare spending, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Meanwhile in less developed nations, economic growth and expanding populations are increasing the demand for improved healthcare facilities and universal coverage. If current trends continue, Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2050 healthcare spending will double, accounting for 20& to 30% of GDP for some economies and 20% by 2015.
For a perspective on tackling chronic disease and future healthcare read this interview with the Economist Intelligence Unit How to tackle chronic disease. (Source: Reuters)
People walk on a footbridge designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro. In 1980, 39% of the world’s population lived in cities; now, more than half live in major cities, and this figure is expected to rise to 67% by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Urban development and renewal is vital in both industrialized cities and the emerging megacities of the developing world where chronic congestion, environmental and extreme inequalities threaten development. In China, McKinsey calculates, the next 20 years will see 40 billion square metres of living and working space created in five million buildings, 50,000 of which will be skyscrapers.
For a view of the future of global urbanization read The world’s fastest growing megacities (Source: Reuters)
Speed influences both the risk of a crash and its consequences. At 35mph (56km/h) you are twice as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30mph (48km/h). In Europe alone, driving according to speed limits and wearing seat belts could save about 12,000 lives and prevent 180,000 injuries per year.
There are a variety of ways to reduce vehicle speeds, including legislation, road design, and stricter enforcement (e.g. speed cameras). One innovative idea is Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), a system in which the vehicle 'knows' the speed limit for the road it is driving on, and activates visual and audio signals if speeds are exceeded.
A three-year ISA project was carried out in Sweden, with various systems installed in 5000 cars, buses and trucks. The Swedish National Road Administration reported a high level of driver acceptance of the devices, suggesting that they could reduce crash injuries by 20% to 30% in urban areas. (Source: Shutterstock)
Today, you are half as likely to be killed in a car crash as 30 years ago. Various improved safety features such as airbags and advanced electronics help to keep you safe in your car.
Probably the best safety device ever developed, however, is the seat belt: it can reduce the risk of death in the event of a crash by up to 60%.
The introduction of mandatory seat belt laws in many countries has increased their usage; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in the UK, usage of the front seat belt increased from 37% to 95% after the introduction of compulsory use, followed by a reduction of 35% in hospital admissions for road traffic injuries. Unfortunately, up to 50% of cars in developing countries may lack functioning seat belts.
Learn about other road safety approaches: Road transport: The science of safety (Source: Shutterstock)
The use of child safety seats has been shown to reduce the risk of vehicle deaths by 71% in young children, and by 54% for children ages one to four years, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cost and availability can be barriers to using child safety seats in developing countries, while even in high-income countries, use can be limited; a CDC study in the US found that in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt at least some of the time. (Source: Shutterstock)
For cyclists, helmets are the most effective protection in the event of an accident: they reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by up to 88%. Some countries have made bicycle helmets mandatory. In countries where helmet wearing is not regulated by law, the wearing rate is generally less than 10%.
Helmets are also hugely important for motorcyclists, especially in developing countries where motorcycle usage is very high and helmet usage is low. For example, in Thailand, in the year following the enforcement of a law on wearing helmets, their use increased five-fold, while motorcycle head injuries decreased by 41% and deaths by 21%, according to research cited by the WHO.
For more on a controversial approach to road safety, read: ‘Riskier’ streets reduce accidents (Source: Shutterstock)
Human error is the top cause of road accidents. If you remove that variable, our roads could potentially be a lot safer – which is why researchers and engineers are perfecting designs for cars that drive themselves. Computer-steered vehicles could improve traffic flows, reduce accidents, and increase fuel efficiency.
Remote control driving might be coming to a highway near you. Learn more: Future transportation: Remote control convoys (Source: Reuters)
According to the UK Department of Transport, you are four times as likely to crash when using a mobile phone while driving. This poster is only a small part of the bigger campaign ‘THINK!’ that was launched by the UK Government to improve road user behavior.
Are you guilty of driving while distracted? The consequences can be deadly. Road Safety: Distracted driving (Source: Rik Pinkcombe/THINK!)
Many crashes result from road users failing to see each other. Poor visibility is a serious problem in low-income and middle-income countries, where roads are often badly lit at night and motorized traffic is not separated from cyclists and pedestrians.
The WHO recommends enforcing daytime running lights for motorcyclists, which reduces visibility-related crashes by up to 15 percent. Furthermore, cyclists should protect themselves by wearing bright, reflecting clothing that increases their visibility in poor daylight and in darkness. Cyclists should use front, rear and wheel reflectors, and bicycle lamps. (Source: Shutterstock)
Zero tolerance for drink-driving offenders helps reduce traffic injuries. Cutting the legal blood-alcohol level from 0.10 percent to 0.05 percent reduces the risk of a crash by two thirds.
The level of enforcement of drink-driving laws has a direct effect on the incidence of drinking and driving, according to the WHO, which cites random breath testing as one of the most effective deterrents.
Modern road traffic systems and roadside design can significantly reduce injury in the event of an accident. Roundabouts, for example, can reduce collisions by up to 40% and serious injuries and fatalities by up to 90%. Other potential improvements are controlled crossings for pedestrians, rumble strips and adequate street lighting.
Separating road users using sidewalks, crosswalks for pedestrians, and separate traffic lanes are effective approaches to improve the most vulnerable road user's safety.
See how improving infrastructure has become the number one priority in Sweden’s road safety policy: Road safety: Sweden’s vision zero (Source: Shutterstock)
Automakers continue to develop intuitive integrated safety features that can help mitigate some of the most common driving risks. In addition to existing features like seatbelts, cruise control and airbags, more sophisticated technology like motion sensors and alcohol detectors, even vehicles that can communicate with one another, are the wave of the future in road safety.
Learn more about these futuristic life-savers: Smart cars could save lives (Source: Reuters)