At the International Transport Forum 2023, we had the chance to talk to youth leader Yasmine Al Moghrabi. She had been awarded the title of a Remarkable Feminist Voice in Transport 2023 just a few days before. We had an inspiring chat with the Lebanese-born activist about her journey, her passion for empowering young people, and her belief that road safety is a feminist cause. After all, the right to life and safety is a human right. Today, around 1.2 million people a year still die from traffic-related accidents. This is why the World Health Organization has declared the goal of halving road deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Everyone deserves to move safely!
Road safety is your behavior and your life
Yasmine’s journey into road safety advocacy began during her undergraduate studies in civil and environmental engineering. The turning point came when she won a student competition that took her to the American Concrete Institute conference in California. This experience opened her eyes to the importance of road safety measures and ignited her passion for making a difference. As she vividly describes,
It was the first time that I pushed a button to cross the road. And it was also my first time seeing a pedestrian light. I was really surprised.
Her commitment to road safety only deepened after participating in international competitions and earning two Master’s degrees in road safety management and transportation engineering. Yasmine’s engagement with the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety eventually led her to become the regional youth leader for North America. In this role, she emphasizes the importance of equal representation, stating,
My position as a regional leader of road safety in North America aims to ensure that all young people are equally represented.
The Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety provides numerous opportunities, including local action projects, a youth academy for education, and SDG champions. Yasmine encourages young people to join the coalition, emphasizing the significance of passion for safer roads for everyone in making a real impact. She invites everyone to join the transformation towards safer roads, which goes beyond professional life. Rather, road safety is an everyday topic that impacts all of us: “Road safety is your behavior, your life,” she says.
Sustainable mobility means safe mobility
Yasmine also sheds light on the intersectionality of road safety and gender equity. While men are more likely to die in a car crash as car drivers and motorcyclists, female victims tend to be passengers or vulnerable pedestrians. Cars, but also road infrastructure and connective mobility are not built to meet the needs and perspectives of women, according to Yasmine. Women moving around the city as pedestrians or cyclists are often also at risk of harassment. She stresses the importance of having women and girls at the decision-making table where they can represent their experiences and perspectives in order to create safer environments for everyone . She recommends the Coalition’s policy brief on SDG 5, which explores gender equality and road safety.
Discussing the link between road safety and sustainable mobility, Yasmine emphasizes their interdependence.
It’s impossible to have sustainable cities, sustainable mobility without road safety.
She believes that everyone has the right to move safely through the city and that only cities with safe transport options can be sustainable – after all, what use is public transport if no one uses it?
“We need you to be in transportation”
However, it is not that easy to change people’s mind about road safety. First, it is key to convince those in power, but also road users, that road safety is about more than just seatbelts and “don’t text and drive” or “don’t drink and drive”. For example, pedestrians will not use a pedestrian bridge if it is unsafe. Women and girls in particular will avoid the bridge at night if it is not well-lit, preferring a different way of crossing busy roads even if other dangers lurk there. As an advocate, Yasmine leverages social media to raise awareness and showcase alternatives. Her online platform, roadsafety.yasmine, demonstrates the benefits of walking, cycling, and using public transport. She also shares success stories from youth-led projects worldwide, illustrating the tangible impact of these initiatives.