Vision Zero is a fundamental reimagining of the way road safety is approached. Rather than accepting that injuries and deaths are inevitable outcomes of transportation networks, the cornerstone of Vision Zero is that all of these outcomes are preventable and that human safety should not be traded for efficiency. The ultimate goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on roadways.
Humans make mistakes. As such, the fault for road fatalities or injuries lies with both road users and the design of the transportation systems. Non-human considerations such as road infrastructure, public policy, vehicle technology, and the health care system all have a role to play in making our roads safer.
Vision Zero was launched in Sweden in 1997 and has since gradually spread across the globe.
In Canada, at the federal level, the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) is the custodian of the Road Safety Strategy 2025 (RSS 2025). RSS 2025 encourages all road safety stakeholders to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world. RSS 2025 is a high-level strategy whose objective is to enable all jurisdictions in Canada to realize zero fatalities and serious injuries on roads nationwide.
Provincially, British Columbia and Manitoba have developed Vision Zero plans. Other provinces and territories such as Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and the Northwest Territories have created road safety plans. However, they do not incorporate Vision Zero principles. None of the other provinces and territories have official road safety plans.
At the local level, a handful of municipalities in Ontario have Vision Zero plans.
Other Ontario municipalities, such as The City of Mississauga, have pledged to adopt Vision Zero and are currently in the process of creating their plans.
New York City has taken Vision Zero seriously. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected in 2014, had Vision Zero as a key plank of his campaign. A $1.6-billion plan was developed at the beginning of the mayor’s first term that looked at changes that need to be made to legislation, enforcement, education, and engineering.
These efforts have paid off.
Since 2014 pedestrian deaths fell by 44 per cent and overall traffic fatalities were down by 27 per cent. The first half of 2018 saw the fewest traffic-related fatalities in any six-month period ever measured. The path to Vision Zero will likely not be linear.
Take a look at what Vision Zero looks like on an urban road Click Here