Vision Zero Touted as Traffic Deaths Hit Historic Lows in 2 Major Cities


Last year turned out to be a banner one for traffic safety in San Francisco and New York, two leaders in the Vision Zero movement to eliminate all traffic-related fatalities. Both cities saw fewer traffic deaths in 2017 than at any point on record.

Vision Zero sets the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths -- whether they are of drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians. The novelty of the movement may be more in its approach than its goal: Vision Zero starts with the premise that humans make mistakes, but road infrastructure ought to account for that. Its champions stress making changes to the physical aspects of streets and sidewalks to reduce vehicle speeds.

The newest numbers boost the case that Vision Zero is working in those cities, because, nationally, the number of traffic deaths has risen more than 13 percent since 2013 when New York and San Francisco adopted the policy.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio touted his city’s success in a press conference on Monday. The number of pedestrian deaths last year decreased by 32 percent from 2016, while overall traffic fatalities dropped by 7 percent. The city says the 214 deaths is the lowest since New York started tallying traffic-related deaths in 1910.

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