What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safety, mobility, and equity for all road users. The Vision Zero initiative originated in Sweden in 1994 as an approach to road safety thinking with the mindset that “No loss of life is acceptable”.
Unfortunately, traffic fatalities are continuing to climb. National Safety Council (NSC) data shows that more than 46,000 people died on U.S. roads in 2021, a 9% increase from 2020. This data makes it clear that Vision Zero is more important than ever.
In response to this growing safety and public health crisis, many communities are adopting ambitious safety goals and developing programs to help them more effectively address roadway fatalities and serious injuries.
Below is a map of the officially recognized Vision Zero communities - let's work to put Norfolk on the map!
What Are the Trends?
Looking over the past decade (2010-2020), the number of pedestrians and the number of bicyclists who have been killed has steadily increased. This has happened because our streets, which have been designed for the movement of vehicles, have not changed considerably to safely accommodate the growing number of pedestrians and bicyclists. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/FARS)
2010-2020 trends for the U.S.
2010-2020 trends for Virginia
The Impact of Speed
Changes in speed can have major consequences. As people travel faster, the risk of death or serious injury rises dramatically when crashes occur. A pedestrian struck by a car driving at 40mph is 8 times more likely to die than a pedestrian stuck by a car driving at 20mph.
Speed also impacts a driver’s peripheral vision. As a driver’s speed increases, his/her peripheral vision narrows drastically and can result in “tunnel vision” and decreased depth perception.
At lower speeds, drivers have a wider field of view and are more likely to notice other road users, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. A driver traveling at 70mph has a much narrower line of sight than a driver traveling at 25mph.