Frequently Asked Questions

What is Vision Zero and the Safe System approach?

Vision Zero is a strategy to prevent roadway deaths and severe injuries, while ensuring safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has proved successful in other nations — and is gaining momentum in American communities.

Vision Zero is built on the Safe System approach to traffic safety. This is a human-centered approach that begins with the ethical belief that no one should be killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes. It recognizes that people (and machines) will inevitably make mistakes. The Safe System approach prioritizes safety for people, focusing on designing roadways and vehicles and setting speeds and related policies in ways that ensure those inevitable mistakes do not result in severe injuries or fatalities. Read more about the Safe System approach in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Roadway Safety Strategy and this Safe System Consortium report.

Vision Zero and the Safe System approach are fundamentally different from the traditional “E’s” approach to traffic safety, which entails a more siloed approach emphasizing Education, Engineering and Enforcement. One major difference is that the E’s represent a discipline-based approach to traffic safety while Vision Zero/Safe System is a values-based approach. The latter emphasizes improving the “upstream systems” people move about in (affecting roadway design and policies that help lower speeds), rather than over-depending on education and enforcement strategies to change behavior. Read more here.

Vision Zero is not a slogan, not a tagline, not even just a program. It is a fundamentally different way to approach traffic safety. Learn more about Vision Zero.

What does the Vision Zero Network do?

The Vision Zero Network is a nonprofit project helping communities reach their goals of Vision Zero – preventing traffic deaths and severe injuries – while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. The Vision Zero Network works on collaborative campaigns to advance Vision Zero in communities across the U.S.

For communities actively engaged in Vision Zero, the Network convenes meetings among leaders for peer to peer learning, organizes informational webinars and calls, and hosts online forums where staff involved in Vision Zero share questions and recommendations. The Network also convenes leaders and representatives from advocacy organizations working to advance Vision Zero and hold elected leaders and system designers accountable to prioritize safe, healthy, equitable mobility.

Vision Zero Network helps communities across the U.S. mobilize to address the crisis of 42,000+ traffic deaths a year in this country, and millions more injuries. We bring diverse stakeholders together to declare that “Enough is Enough,” recognizing that these tragedies are preventable with the right strategies and commitment. Our goal is safe mobility for all. Learn more about our work here.

Note that Vision Zero Network does not represent nor speak for individual community-led Vision Zero efforts. If you’re interested in activities in a specific community, please contact them directly.

How can my community be recognized as a Vision Zero community?

The Vision Zero Network recognizes as “Vision Zero communities” those which are taking demonstrable and significant actions to advance the core principles of Vision Zero and the Safe System approach. Communities interested in recognition can reference this application process. The application asks about actions taken to date in your community and establishes baseline data. It also helps interested communities learn about expectations and best practices related to a meaningful Vision Zero commitment.

Can other levels of government, other than cities, be recognized as Vision Zero communities, such as small towns, regions or states?

Vision Zero can be implemented in any type of community – rural, suburban or urban; local, regional or state. In the U.S., so far, many efforts have been initiated at the city-level, though an increasing number of regional-level agencies are also adopting Vision Zero, and some states are also showing increasing interest. In some other countries, Vision Zero is initiated and led more from the national level, and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently set a first-ever national goal of Zero Roadway Deaths.

While different strategies may be more appropriate for certain types of communities, regardless of the size or type of the community, the core principles of Vision Zero — the Safe System approach — remain the same. Learn more about the Safe System approach here and here.

How can I help my community start working on Vision Zero?

Whether you are a mayor, a transportation planner or engineer, a public health professional, or a community advocate, you can take actionable steps to start making progress on Vision Zero. Read more about Where to Start on the Road to Vision Zero.

I’m a reporter, how can I contact Vision Zero Network?

Reporters can find more information here, including answers to common media questions, and contact information for interviews.

Where can I find examples of strong Vision Zero work, including executive directives, action plans, case studies, approaches to equity and other resources?

Visit our Resource Library. We also have a library of recorded webinars on important Vision Zero topics. You can also find out about our recent work on our News page.

How can I, or my organization, support the Vision Zero Network?

Please support our work to advance safe mobility for all. If you are interested in business sponsor opportunities to support Vision Zero, please contact info@visionzeronetwork.org.

Vision Zero Network is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, a 501(c)3 non-profit. For your accounting purposes, Community Initiatives’ tax ID number is 94-3255070. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent provided by the law.

How can I stay updated about Vision Zero news?

Sign up for Vision Zero Network’s monthly e-newsletter to stay updated on Vision Zero news. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. And participate in our upcoming webinars and/or view past webinars.