What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is the long-term goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
The Vision Zero approach to road safety can be summarized in one sentence: No loss of life is acceptable.
On September 22, 2015 City Council approved the Road Safety Strategy 2016-2020 which set Vision Zero as the long-term goal of zero fatalities and zero major injuries on our roads. This made Edmonton the first Canadian city to officially adopt Vision Zero.
Vision Zero is a global initiative and a bold goal that has been implemented in Sweden and in some American cities including Boston, Seattle and New York. The Vision Zero approach in Sweden began in 1997 and has proven highly successful. Sweden has one of the lowest annual rates of road deaths in the world and fatalities involving pedestrians has fallen almost 50% in the last five years.
Vision Zero is a long-term strategy. Making changes to infrastructure and traffic-safety culture takes time. Through a Safe-Systems, evidence-based approach, we will save lives and eliminate injuries through the 5 E’s of traffic safety:
Safe System Principles
- We all make mistakes
- We are physically vulnerable when involved in motor vehicle collisions
- We have an individual and shared responsibility in road safety
- When crashes do happen, deaths can be avoided and injuries minimized through a forgiving road system
Three Foundational Facts
Vision Zero is based on three facts about traffic fatalities and injuries, each of which defines specific actions traffic-safety people take to reduce both collisions and the extent of harm done in the collisions that do occur:
- Pedestrians have a 90% chance of surviving a collision if the vehicle is going 30 km/h or less, but only a 10% chance of surviving if the vehicle is traveling over 50 km/h
- Drivers and passengers have a 90% chance of surviving a side impact collision at 50 km/h or less
- Drivers and passengers have a 90% chance of surviving a head-on collision with a cumulative speed under 70 km/h
This approach does not ignore risk-taking behavior, but acknowledges human fallibility and the need for greater allowances for human error.
How is Edmonton different from other Vision Zero Cities?
In 2006, there were 8,821 people injured in collisions on Edmonton streets. The City responded by creating the Office of Traffic Safety that year. In spite of the huge population growth since then, in 2015 there were 3,033 traffic-related injuries. This is a reduction of 63%. The City of Edmonton has been working to systematically reduce collisions and injuries.
However, the numbers are still too high. Zero fatalities and serious injuries is the logical goal. Edmontonians can get behind Vision Zero because no one wants their families and friends injured or killed.
“These are our mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, friends... any loss of life on our roads is unacceptable.” Mayor Don Iveson