Using arts and creativity to bring safety in Monterrey for pedestrian : “Cebras por la Vida”

Date: 20 Jul 2016
Cat: Civic actions, Mexico, Pedestrian

Monterrey is a city with a strong car-oriented culture. Located close to the US borders, they have been very inspired by their neighbors. Their urban planning is very similar to Houston with huge high-ways and urban sprawl of habitation. One of its several municipalities and the richest one, San Pedro, has an astonishing ratio of car per habitant: there is almost 2 cars per habitant!

As most of cars orientated cities, Monterrey has poor infrastructure for other kind of mobility such as pedestrians or bicycles. A non-profit organization, MOVAC, has decided to work on bringing more safety for these greener way to move by setting up programs as: Cebras por la Vida!

Let’s have a look of this initiative coming from Colombia and implemented in Mexico !


Today, cities of Latin America have sadly a very high rate of mortality of pedestrian.  Guadalajara, Medellin or Mexico are all working hardly to switch the paradigm of the traffic pyramid. From focussing to cars and taxi as main way to focus first on pedestrian, then bikes and finally cars.

However, to make people use these alternative ways of moving they need to feel safe and get proper infrastructures. Strongly influenced by the Colombian model, MOVAC has decided to work on a program to support safety for pedestrian in the city of Monterrey.

Pyrammid Switch

Urbanovacion has been lucky enough to meet with her leader, Luisa Peresbarosa !

Why have you decided to work on pedestrian right?

  • To emphasize the importance of improving safety on the road for everybody. The new traffic pyramid with strong focus on walking and bicycling came also alive to improve equalities in cities. Citizens are equal in right in their constitutions but in the real life, on the road, it is not the same. Bikers and walkers have difficulties to move safer in most of the city of the world compared to drivers.
  • To promote safety for pedestrians. This project brings light on a topic which is sometimes underestimated by people. Artefacts and paintings make it more real.
  • To make the street more secured for pedestrians. According to a recent study from Ricardo Perez Nunez, half of the people died on the road are pedestrian. Moreover,Road traffic accident are the 7th cause of death of the country today. It is an important matter for Mexico


What is Cebras por la vida ?

  • A citizen initiative that looks to improve conditions of pedestrians through artistic interventions in public space.


How it works?

  • The association makes a diagnostic and selects a strategic path where it is dangerous to cross the streets. After selecting a path, they work with communities to paint it in fancy ways and make it visible.
  • For example, MOVAC has chosen to work on area where kids need to cross the streets, close to schools.

After selecting the path, they work with different stakeholders and communities :

    • With the municipality to get authorization
    • With schools to involve the student :
      • Train them about safety by walking.
      • Make them understand why it is important to cross on cross-path
      • Make the students paint the road.

At the end, different actors are involved and it makes people aware about the pedestrians’ right. Moreover, people will respect more this cross-path as they have been part of this project from the beginning.


This simple initiative involves lots of actors of the community (and the younger generation) ! It is easy to replicate and doesn’t require a huge budget. Let’s hope they will be emulators around the world to improve safety on the road for every commuter : from driver to pedestrians!