Vision Zero initiatives are well underway in New York and San Francisco, and municipal efforts to reduce traffic fatalities are expanding across the U.S. Seattle has set ambitious pedestrian safety goals. All the candidates currently running for mayor in Philadelphia have said they support a Vision Zero aim for that city.
Yet the movement is still new to U.S. cities, and advocacy group Transportation Alternatives is warning that NYC hasn’t allocated enough money to making streets safer in order to reach Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero goals.
Enter the Vision Zero Network, which officially launched yesterday. The group hopes to apply nationally accepted standards to strategizing policy and setting goals and measuring progress toward making traffic deaths a thing of the past.
With a three-year grant from Kaiser Permanente, Vision Zero Network will begin with a focus on speed management, street redesign and behavior change campaigns. There are also plans to advance data-driven traffic enforcement, so that fatality stats can be analyzed for future initiatives.
“For too long, in too many communities, our transportation systems have been out of sync with our priorities for improved health, sustainability, equity and economic well-being,” said Leah Shahum, Vision Zero Network’s director, in a press release. “Local leaders recognize that we can and must do more to ensure our citizens’ right to safe mobility. We are uniting around Vision Zero to reorient our priorities and policies to ensure that safety really is first on our streets and sidewalks.”
To start, Vision Zero Network will focus on garnering leaders and representatives from 10 major cities — which have yet to be chosen — and uniting those individuals to help create cohesive solutions. Shahum told Streetsblog, “It’s not beneficial for this to be something that everyone is just jumping on the bandwagon. The idea is that there is really legs and depth to this. There need to be real political commitments. There needs to be real resources committed.”
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.