A new standard for safety on our streets — Vision Zero ensures a basic right of safety for all people as they move about their communities. Boston and Cambridge have each made a public commitment to Vision Zero, with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2030.
What is Vision Zero?
- First implemented in Sweden in the 1990's, Vision Zero has proven successful across Europe — and now it's gaining momentum in major American cities.
- Cities and towns adopt Vision Zero with programs that focus on the 6 E's: Education, Enforcement, Engineering, Encouragement, Equity, and Evaluation.
- A commitment to Vision Zero shifts the priority of transportation policies and projects from speed to safety, with the philosophy that crashes can be avoided if streets are designed to protect all people.
“In every situation in which a person might fail, the road system should not.”
Why Vision Zero?
- Traffic deaths are routinely processed by the public as the unfortunate result of car "accidents" — leaving no one accountable for making changes that can prevent these deaths.
- Cultural attitudes must change to ensure political accountability around safe streets by applying the same focus to traffic deaths as we apply to public campaigns around drunken driving and work site safety.
- To prevent traffic deaths, greater collaboration among local traffic planners, engineers, police officers, policymakers, and public health professionals is needed. Vision Zero brings together diverse and necessary stakeholders to address the complex problem of road safety.
“When a story comes out about cyclists being injured in Boston, every single time I'm thinking, well, we could have prevented it. And people will always argue that cyclists are not being careful or that it's the driver's fault or the cyclist's fault. We just have to stop pointing fingers and just work on solving the problem together. As lofty as that sounds it's what works."
– Dahianna Lopez, PhD Health Policy, Harvard University | WBUR
- Pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the US jumped 10% in 2015, the largest year-to-year increase since records started being tracked four decades.
- In January 2016 alone, eleven people walking in Massachusetts were killed by people driving vehicles (4 of those fatalities were in Boston).
- In 2014, 1,279 people required EMS due to a pedestrian or bicyclist crash on Boston roads. That's an average of 2-3 people per day. (Source: Boston EMS, 2014)
"Our complacency is killing us. …One hundred deaths [nationwide] every day should outrage us. Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death."
– Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and Chief Executive of the National Safety Council | Boston Globe
- Save the Date: World Day of Remembrance is Sunday, November 19th. Stand in solidarity with the MA Vision Zero Coalition to honor those who have been injured or killed by a road traffic crash.
- In August 2017, Somerville joined Boston and Cambridge in making a commitment to Vision Zero. Read more here.
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh committed an additional $1 million in funding for Vision Zero in FY2018. The City announced its five Neighborhood Slow Streets Program partners in July.
- In December 2016 the MA Vision Zero Coalition released a Vision Zero report card grading Boston's progress on their first year action plan.
- LivableStreets and other area advocacy groups crafted an omnibus traffic safety bill which was filed in January 2016. Get updates on the bill here.
- The MA Vision Zero Coalition is working with the City of Cambridge on their Vision Zero Action Plan.
What You Can Do
Volunteer: Join us in spreading the word about the importance of safe and livable streets. Our volunteers are actively involved in tracking projects, tabling at events, and serving as Street Ambassadors.
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