Vision Zero Resolution to eliminate traffic fatalities is gaining traction in the US
As road deaths continue to rise across the country, a Vision Zero resolution has been introduced into Congress. Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and serious injuries while increasing safety, health and mobility.
The resolution addresses the road fatality epidemic and calls on the US Department of Transportation to focus on road safety to reduce road fatalities to zero by 2050.
In May, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the bicameral resolution with the joint support of five senators and five representatives — all Democrats — and the support of the National Safety Council, Consumer , before Reports, Vision Zero Network and Families for Safe Streets.
“Our country is in the middle of an auto safety crisis, a crisis that we can stop,” Schakowsky said. “Tens of thousands of lives die on our roads every year. Enough is enough.”
“We must commit to ending these unnecessary deaths and injuries by 2050. This resolution commits and calls on the Department of Transport to use the tools at its disposal to prioritize road safety.”
The resolution is currently in its introductory phase, where support is growing. There are now 20 official supporters of the resolution in Congress – out of 535 members.
Between 2010 and 2019, the number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States increased by 44 percent and cyclists by 36 percent.
According to the National Traffic and Safety Administration, this is partly due to dangerous road construction and the increasing popularity of larger vehicles like SUVs and pickups.
The five-page resolution is non-binding, but supporters believe it can serve as an important first step toward more solid policy changes.
At the national level, the Vision Zero Network works with stakeholders across the country, connecting them with the common goal of “eliminating all road deaths and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all”.
Vision Zero focuses on how people behave naturally – accidents will happen. While they may never prevent all accidents, there is a way to prevent many of the most serious and deadly accidents. The airline industry and railroads already have zero tolerance policies.
“No other preventable cause of death is as overlooked and implicitly condoned as the tens of thousands of preventable road deaths in this country each year. That must – and can – change,” said Leah Shahum, director of Vision Zero Network, in an interview.
“We are encouraged that this new resolution to set and advance the goal of eliminating road deaths by 2050 is a sign of increased federal leadership. Now we must apply proven strategies, including designing roads for safety, not speed, and investing in funding safety improvements, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, and for people in traditionally underserved communities.
The Vision Zero Network found that the more people choose to use public transportation, walk or bike, the safer it is for a city’s population and overall health.
At the city level, initiatives like Vision Zero Philadelphia have turned their attention to making the transportation system safer. The city considered speeds, roads, people, and vehicles to set up these systems and work to prevent traffic-related fatalities.
Each year, Philadelphia residents are victims of about 10,000 traffic accidents that kill about 85 people and seriously injure 250 others.
According to the city’s traffic research, speed is the most important factor in determining whether an accident is fatal. Speed is particularly deadly for people who walk or bike – pedestrians rarely survive accidents when speeds exceed 20 miles per hour.
Approximately 36 percent of traffic-related fatalities in Philadelphia are due to aggressive driving, which includes speeding and not being there.
At the state level, Hexagon, a global leader in digital reality solutions that combines sensor, software and autonomous technologies, developed a system for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that improved response times to highway accidents.
“If we accept that people make mistakes, that we’re not infallible, you can start transforming this movement,” said Bruce Chaplin, vice president of transportation solutions at Hexagon.
“If we just accept that they’re avoidable, and second, people make mistakes, and if we can design to avoid mistakes or mitigate the impact of those mistakes, that’s helpful.”
To improve the accuracy and efficiency of their incident response capabilities, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission needed an incident management and dispatching solution that could replace their outdated computerized dispatching software and make dispatching, response, and reporting easier and faster.
With Hexagon’s solution, responders had more accurate locations of reported incidents, allowing them to identify and dispatch the closest unit. The technology also gives operators the ability to quickly identify nearby cameras and use the images to increase situational awareness and improve response times.
“We look at the state of road safety in North America — 38,000 people lose their lives in automobile accidents each year, 20 percent of drivers are injured in serious accidents,” Chaplin said.
“There are estimates of the economic impact of traffic accidents at up to $240 billion and while we look at a lot of the advances that have been made over the years in vehicle safety and technology and everything else, the fact is that we something like a 30 year high when we look at the deaths of bicycle pedestrians on the roadway.”
The Vision Zero Network and other pedestrian advocacy groups recognize that achieving the goal of safe mobility for all is not only vital, but also a distinct challenge.
There are cities across the country working to achieve a Vision Zero future. The Vision Zero Network encourages collaboration between these communities to accelerate progress in eliminating road deaths and serious injuries.
Cities that have implemented Vision Zero so far:
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Tempe, Ariz.
- Alameda, California
- Berkeley, California
- Fremont, California
- La Mesa, California
- The angel
- Monterey, California
- Sacramento, California
- Santa Barbara, California
- san francisco
- San Jose, California
- San Luis Obispo, California
- Watsonville, California
- Boulder, Col.
- Orlando, Fla.
- Tampa, Fla.
- West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Macon, Ga.
- Chicago, Illinois.
- Cambridge, Mass.
- Somerville, Mass.
- Colombia, Mon
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Jersey City, NJ
- Charlotte, NC
- Durham, NC
- Eugene, Arch.
- Portland, Ore.
- Bethlehem, Penn.
- Harrisburg, Pa.
- Alexandria, Va.
- Richmond, Va.
- Austin, Texas
- Laredo, Texas
- Saint Anthony
- Bellevue, Washington.
- Washington, D.C
Companies in the automotive industry are also committed to reducing road deaths. The Volvo Group is committed to a safety vision that states in detail that “no one shall be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo”.
The Swedish brand has highlighted three main areas to work on: speed, high and distraction. To solve speed, the company has limited the top speed of its cars to 110 mph as of 2020 and is developing automatic speed limit technology near schools and hospitals.
In the near future, intoxication and distraction will be monitored via in-car cameras monitoring the driver. If the driver does not react to warning signals, the car will slow down and park.