For many people, car crashes simply seem like an inevitable part of independent travel. In fact, experts often assert that trying to eliminate crashes would be an untenably expensive process. However, most collisions are the results of human error and could therefore be preventable with the right practices and policies.
Those who helped develop and expand Vision Zero believe that no investment is unreasonable if it saves lives. Vision Zero is a groundbreaking strategy that aims to end all traffic fatalities and even severe injuries caused by collisions. The goal is not to reduce traffic but rather to make it safer and more equitable for everyone.
Vision Zero first experienced implementation in Sweden in the 1990s and has since gained recognition in many other countries. Much of Europe has seen success with the implementation of Vision Zero, and now the United States has started to take notice. A combination of approaches, including better safety policies, better road design and safer vehicles can help eliminate crashes when properly implemented.
Where has Vision Zero gained traction in the United States?
Currently, Indiana does not have any Vision Zero communities. However, Illinois has begun to implement these policies in Chicago. Cities across the United States, from over a dozen in California alone to Minneapolis, Orlando and New York City have also joined the Vision Zero Network.
What is different in a Vision Zero community?
There’s a real focus on encouraging safety as a top priority among policymakers and public health officials in Vision Zero communities, as well as members of the community and local police departments. Communities gather and analyze collision data to identify common causes and high-risk areas that may require investment. Managing speed levels, deterring intoxication at the wheel and keeping the community engaged are all crucial to making the Vision Zero concept a reality.
Despite many people’s belief that car crashes are an inevitable part of letting people drive, the truth is that the vast majority of collisions don’t need to occur. It is possible to promote transportation equity while also promoting public safety. Learning more about Vision Zero and other transportation safety programs can help drivers reduce their personal risk of a car crash and support public policy that could save lives.