Vision Zero

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Vision Zero is a strategy for improving safety to the point that traffic deaths and severe injuries are reduced to zero. Vision Zero originated in Sweden in the 1990s and since then, the country's traffic fatality rate has been cut in half. Vision Zero has been adopted in other areas of Europe and is quickly gaining traction in North America. In 2012, Chicago became the first city in the United States to commit to Vision Zero. Since that time, more than 25 U.S. cities have adopted Vision Zero policies and several more are in the process of committing to Vision Zero (Vision Zero Network).

The concept of Vision Zero affirms that there are no traffic accidents; there are only crashes and deadly crashes are preventable. By prioritizing safety, a universal goal, Vision Zero policies utilize a comprehensive approach to transportation that involves collaboration across agencies and advocacy organizations. Importantly, Vision Zero recognizes that the people who create and enforce the road network are also responsible for safety. This is a break from traditional thinking, which often regarded individuals as solely responsible for their safety. The Vision Zero Network identifies five fundamental aspects of a strong Vision Zero Commitment:

  1. Recognize traffic deaths and severe injuries can be prevented
  2. Focus on protecting human life and health across the transportation system
  3. Create transportation systems that accommodate for human error
  4. Prioritize systemic changes rather than individual behavior changes
  5. Recognize and emphasize speed as the main factor of crash severity

Resources

Vision Zero Network
A national non-profit that supports communities through technical assistance, the Vision Zero Focus Cities program, and guidance documents, such as:

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
Getting from Vision Zero Plan to Vision Zero Progress: This webinar includes commentary from city officials, advocates, and non-profit organizations about successful implementation of Vision Zero policies.

National Center for Safe Routes to School
Focusing on the Safety of Children Can Propel Vision Zero Initiatives: This brief discusses tips for integrating youth safety measures into Vision Zero plans.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School: Partners in Safety: This report showcases the importance and benefit of collaboration between Vision Zero and SRTS.

Institute of Transportation Engineers
ITE's Vision Zero toolbox includes informative podcasts, webinars, and journal articles as well as a crowd sourced video analytics program that can help cars recognize vulnerable road users.

US Department of Transportation
An initiative of the US DOT's National Strategy on Highway Safety, Toward Zero Deaths provides support for state-based Vision Zero efforts.

Road to Zero Coalition
The Coalition's Safe System Innovation Grant program awards funding to evidence-based highway safety programs that support the National Safety Council's Vision Zero efforts.

Vision Zero Initiative
This is the primary website for Vision Zero in Sweden, where the movement first started.

Prevention Institute
Vision Zero: A Health Equity Road Map for Getting to Zero in Every Community: this brief brings the public health perspective to the topic of Vision Zero.

Research

A Vision for Transportation Safety: Framework for Identifying Best Practice Strategies to Advance Vision Zero (2016): This TRB paper by researchers in San Francisco provides a comparison of Vision Zero policy components within Sweden, the Netherlands, London, and several U.S. cities.

Using Automated Enforcement Data to Achieve Vision Zero Goals: A Case Study (2016): Analysis by the DC Department of Transportation suggests automated enforcement technology, such as speed and red light cameras, can support Vision Zero goals by providing data on where to target enforcement operations.

Towards Best Practice Collision Analysis for Vision Zero Programs (2015): In this UCLA study, researchers explain issues related to spatial prioritization of Vision Zero strategies.