In the wake of appalling violence in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas during the past few weeks and swelling racial tensions nationwide, a spotlight is shining on systemic inequities in our nation’s law enforcement system. These tragedies are influencing our thinking across the country. Personally, I am thinking differently about Vision Zero. Not only as it relates to law enforcement, but also in other ways that U.S. communities are interpreting and implementing Vision Zero efforts as they relate to social justice and equity. Admittedly, at this point, I have more questions than answers. I acknowledge that I feel uncomfortable talking about some of these issues, and that I’m far from being an expert in this area. Yet I do feel a responsibility, as the leader of the Vision Zero Network, to share my concerns, including places that I think Vision Zero may have misstepped early in its short history, and to look for solutions.
Communicating effectively to advance street safety is not a new goal, but Vision Zero is bringing greater urgency and critical thinking to this need. It also brings together a wider and more diverse range of stakeholders who recognize the value of well-planned, measureable communication efforts. In this case study, we look at two early-adopter cities’ — New York City and San Francisco — promising approaches to communicating about Vision Zero in order to garner attention and influence behavior — at all levels of society.
We’re thrilled to announce that the Network’s staff will double in size in the coming months as we welcome Zach Vanderkooy into the new position of Deputy Director. Zach will work closely with staff from both Vision Zero Focus Cities and Emerging Cities, as well as with advocates — and help develop useful resources and specific standards to guide cities toward successful Vision Zero efforts. He’ll also identify and guide strategies for the Network overall to advance Vision Zero across the country.
One of the defining characteristics of Vision Zero is the fundamental focus on breaking down silos and uniting local stakeholders behind common goals. Cross-departmental collaboration isn’t simply advisable — its importance cannot be emphasized enough as a critical foundation to a successful Vision Zero commitment. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York City have found ways to bridge unintentional but long-standing gaps between key local agencies and identified innovative means to build new organizational architecture to advance Vision Zero.
If 30,000 people were killed each year in the United States by a curable illness, we would call it a public health crisis. We would deploy resources, vaccines and interventions to address the spread and bring the death toll to the only acceptable level: zero. Yet, every year 30,000+ people are killed in preventable traffic collisions in this country. Vision Zero asks us to see those traffic deaths like polio or cholera: epidemics that, with an urgent health framing and public response, can be eradicated. In this case study we explore how San Francisco, New York City and Chicago are using the tools of public health — including epidemiology, research and a focus on the root causes of health inequities — to advance their Vision Zero efforts.
In many cities, thousands of taxi and for-hire drivers log millions of miles on our roadways each year. With the increasing number of on-demand car services, these drivers can play a key role in creating safe streets and advancing Vision Zero. In this case study, we explore gains in New York City. Read and download the full case study.
Last week, we were excited to join hundreds of Vision Zero leaders in New York City for the second annual Vision Zero Cities conference, hosted by Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets. It was a whirlwind two days full of inspiring presentations, a-ha moments, deepening discussions and sharing of successes from communities nationwide. It was difficult to distill, but we’ve identified 11 of the top take-aways from the jam-packed event.
American cities are adopting Vision Zero, drawn to its departure from traditional approaches to traffic safety. But what makes Vision Zero an innovative road safety policy with the potential to make our streets safe? In this case study — the first in a series — we identify the key elements that distinguish Vision Zero.
The headline was deeply disturbing — though not surprising: 87 Percent of Drivers Engage in Unsafe Behaviors Behind the Wheel. That was AAA’s top take-away from a 2015 poll of drivers conducted by its Foundation for Traffic Safety, released late last month. Unfortunately, the results showed a continuing trend: Motorists readily identify behaviors like speeding or distracted driving as unsafe but still do it themselves. The poll adds urgency to the growing Vision Zero movement, but it also reveals American drivers’ support for many of the strategies that cities are using to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries — and puts the spotlight on an important Vision Zero partner: the nation’s largest organization representing motorists.
While every city is unique in so many ways, when it comes to traffic safety, communities as diverse as Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles actually have a lot in common. In fact, in the first nine months of the Vision Zero Network, as we’ve worked with people from dozens of cities as diverse as […]