Take a moment to imagine living in a city with fewer traffic fatalities. A city where children walk safely across streets, hard-working people make their daily commute without incident and families pile into the car for a trip to the movie theater with no potentially life-threatening risks to consider.
Unfortunately, this imaginary city doesn't exist. The reality is an average of 30,000 people are killed in traffic accidents each year in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control.
However, there is an organized effort to reduce these 30,000 deaths to zero, and that effort is called Vision Zero — a collaborative strategy aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has proved successful in reducing traffic fatalities across Europe and is now being adopted by cities all across America.
Read on to find out what Vision Zero is, how Vision Zero cities in the U.S. have increased traffic safety and how your city can take the necessary steps toward becoming a Vision Zero city.
What is Vision Zero?
With the majority of traffic deaths and injuries happening at the local level, most city leaders know their transportation systems are dated and in need of significant structural and technological updates.
The goal of Vision Zero is to bring together these local leaders to share successful strategies and product implementations and to support leadership in developing policies and practices aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities while increasing safe mobility.
Reversing the traditional approach to traffic safety, which focuses on trying to perfect human behaviors through testing, education and media campaigns (which can be successful), Vision Zero focuses on the system as a whole, not simply the driver's role in it.
Since you can't perfect human behavior, Vision Zero redefines the traffic safety dilemma by identifying true problem areas as a combination of roadway design, enforcement, technologies, behaviors, polices and speed management.
Reducing Speed Increases Safety
It's well-known that reducing vehicle speed increases roadway safety. Vision Zero works with forward-thinking communities to focus on speed management in an effort to reduce speeds — and ultimately save lives.