Vision Zero is Not a Slogan or Tagline; It is a Shift to Safe Travel for All

Leah Shahum, Founder and Executive Director, Vision Zero Network

It?s a shocking statistic: Every day an average of 100 people lose their lives needlessly in the U.S. simply while trying to move about their communities ? perhaps walking to a store, bicycling to a park, or driving to work. Now, a growing number of communities are saying ?enough is enough? of these tragic and preventable losses of life, and they are committing to the bold goal of Vision Zero ? zero traffic deaths or severe injuries among all road users.

First adopted in Sweden 20 years ago, Vision Zero is more than just a catchy tagline to promote safety. It is a fundamental shift in how we approach traffic safety. Built on an ethical belief that we all deserve to be safe moving about our communities, it takes a Safe Systems approach to roadway safety. Instead of accepting that traffic deaths are inevitable, Vision Zero acknowledges that they are preventable and that more can and should be done to prioritize safety. Much of this responsibility rests with roadway designers and policymakers.

Vision Zero also acknowledges that people will inevitably make mistakes, so rather than designing roads that aim for perfect human behavior (impossible!), roadway designs and policies should take into account inevitable mistakes and aim to lessen the impact of crashes. Safe Systems is a shift from the traditional approach of disproportionately focusing on individual responsibility and behavior to focusing on changing the systems that most influence individual behavior, particularly how roadways are designed and how policies are set.

About the Vision Zero Network

The nonprofit Vision Zero Network supports communities across the U.S. in their efforts to advance Vision Zero.