Vision Zero 101
Vision Zero is more than a name, it’s a goal to keep us all safe.
Vision Zero is a traffic safety movement that is quickly growing around the world as cities strive to become safer for people no matter how they get around. Arlington county first adopted a Vision Zero resolution in July 2019. But what exactly is it? Welcome to Vision Zero 101.
What is Vision Zero?
‘Vision Zero’ stands for the goal of zero traffic fatalities or serious injuries. Cities that have adopted Vision Zero, with the help of the Vision Zero Network, strive to increase safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Given that the United States has over 30,000 traffic fatalities each year, this is a big goal. It is also an important one.
How Can Vision Zero Be Achieved?
Vision Zero can be achieved in a variety of ways, but there are a couple of key principles at its core.
Traffic Fatalities are Preventable
For so long, we have accepted traffic fatalities and collisions as accidents. But due to innovations in traffic engineering and transportation policy, we know that fatalities and injuries are preventable—if we plan for it.
Policies to Factor in Human Error
Vision Zero strives to put infrastructure and policies into place that will factor in human error like speed management (a fancy way of saying “slowing down cars”). Humans are not perfect, and we make a lot of mistakes. The important thing is that we try to minimize mistakes, rather than hoping they won’t happen, so a policy that helps with speed management makes it so that even if a human error does occur, a crash at a lower speed is less likely to result in severe injury or death.
Improvements to Infrastructures, Facilities, and More
There are many different approaches to Vision Zero, most of which don’t require large infrastructure investments. Things like right-sizing roadways, curb extensions, slower speed limits, and bike lanes increase safety for all.
Vision Zero In Arlington
The data in Arlington shows that overall, Arlington is doing well when compared to the rest of the country. Arlington has an annual average of 0.84 traffic deaths per 100,000 people while the national average is 11.17 traffic deaths per 100,000 people. But according to Arlington county, “No death or severe injury on our streets or trails is acceptable, no matter how we compare to other communities.”
Arlington has great facilities and infrastructure to help us feel safe when we travel around Arlington. This doesn’t mean that we are perfect and there is certainly still more work to be done. By enacting a Vision Zero goal, Arlington has committed itself to continued evaluation of the county’s transportation safety.
Safe Streets Start with You
Commit to doing your part as a person who drives, bikes, or walks by filling out the form below to be a PAL (predictable, alert, and lawful). We’ll keep you up to date on Vision Zero, traffic laws, and safety tips to help you travel in and around Arlington with confidence, opportunities to volunteer at upcoming events, and so much more.