Two Strategies for Achieving Vision Zero
Antonio Loro writes an opinion piece on the subject of traffic safety and the inevitable backlash against efforts to achieve "Vision Zero" safety improvements.
It seems that some members of the public are more concerned that Vision Zero projects (like reducing vehicles lanes, adding traffic calming elements to the street, and improving bike infrastructure) will kill something more sacred than human life—the ability to quickly move from point a to point b in a car. Loro cites recent controversies over road diets on the Westside of Los Angeles as evidence of the willingness of some communities to sacrifice lives for the sake of mobility.
Loro's argument is just the opposite: that urban mobility must not sacrifice human lives. "To end road deaths, cities will have to tame unruly traffic, though it won’t be necessary to slow everything to a crawl; beyond that, more people will have to shift to modes of transport that, conveniently, are both safer than cars and provide more efficient ways to get around cities."
Loro details the kinds of measure that can slow down traffic, while pointing to the example of airline safety as an example of the kind of safety considerations that can be implemented for travel. Still, despite the many options for reconfiguring the street available to Vision Zero campaigns, people will still have to decide to travel by more efficient modes, like biking, walking, or riding public transit, if they want to improve traffic safety and improve congestion in the city.