Is Vision Zero Doing Enough to Eliminate Traffic Deaths?
A new report from Streetsblog has returned encouraging evidence from several cities which have participated in the Vision Zero program since 2010. While a number of cities still struggle with specific safety issues, the information collected shows these municipalities have made progress toward the stated goal of eliminating traffic-related fatalities.
About Vision Zero
The Vision Zero campaign currently operates in many cities across both the United States and Canada. Its goal is to eliminate traffic deaths in urban locations. To do so, the program encourages reduced speed limits, safer street infrastructure, efforts to fight impaired or distracted driving and laws which hold both pedestrians and drivers responsible for safety.
Traffic Fatalities Still a Concern
According to the National Safety Council, 40,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2018. A spokesperson from the Vision Zero Network, the non-profit created to help promote safety in participating cities, advises progress toward the goal of zero fatalities will likely not be linear. Progress is not expected to be quick or easy. They say the program’s success cannot be determined from a single table or graph.
Close to Home
As we reported in an earlier blog, a recent report suggests Boston has seen an increase in nonfatal traffic injuries, even as the number of fatal crashes has dropped close to 50% within the past three years. During those years, the city has lowered speed limits, added protected bike lanes, and made other safety improvements.
In Boston, the number of fatalities has dropped from 21 in 2016 and 14 in 2017 to 10 in 2018. Unfortunately, the city recorded 4,367 non-fatal injuries resulting from traffic accidents during 2018, which is 12 more than two years prior.
A Look at Current Trends
As outlined in the report, a few cities have witness improvements since 2016. While Boston, Portland and Seattle have all witnessed a steady decrease in traffic fatalities over the last few years, the pattern in both San Francisco and New York seems a more-recent development. Supporters of Vision Zero say this progress laudable, yet they suggest too little progress is being made to reduce the total number of injuries and deaths.
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