Vision Zero is the name given to a strategy implemented by many cities around the nation to reduce the number of traffic deaths each year. Thus far, it’s only been enacted locally, but bipartisan legislation has recently been proposed that aims to place Vision Zero on the national stage.
- Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the Vision Zero Act.
- This proposed legislation is intended to expand Vision Zero’s impact beyond the 40 communities that are currently following this strategy.
- It aims to free up federal funding and grants to support initiatives that are in alignment with Vision Zero’s recommended guidelines.
Pedestrian deaths are at record highs
Nationwide, the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians are on the rise. Data released in late October by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that pedestrian deaths in 2018 reached a record high not seen since 1990. Deaths of those on pedal-powered bicycles rose by 6.3 percent relative to the previous year.
Last year, there was an upswing in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities nationwide. (Photo: Leeroy Agency/Pixabay)
Vision Zero’s focus
Vision Zero aims to tackle this problem head on, and it’s been embraced by cities such as New York City and San Francisco. Simply put, Vision Zero is a strategy that aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, while working to ensure safe and healthy mobility for all. It first emerged in Sweden in the 1990s, and it’s been successfully used in several European cities. Now it’s being embraced by many (but not all) cities here n the U.S.
The Vision Zero Act would overhaul the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which is about to expire. The proposed legislation would make jurisdictions with Vision Zero plans would be eligible for almost $15 billion in funds from the Surface Transportation Block Grants, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program and the Highway Safety Improvement program.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Vision Zero has ambitious goals, and the strategy has a good track record in Europe. The Vision Zero Act would provide greater incentives and resources for cities that interested in getting on board.