Vision Zero Successes Show a Path Forward

While traffic deaths in the United States keep rising, progress in cities like Hoboken and New York prove that, with the right resources, eliminating traffic deaths is possible.

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November 28, 2022, 1:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Pedestrian Infrastructure

SCK_Photo / Shutterstock

In a bright spot for pedestrian safety in the United States, Angie Schmitt, writing for Bloomberg CityLab, highlights the U.S. cities where Vision Zero efforts are yielding positive results, particularly New York City and some of its smaller neighbors. According to the article, “Between 2010 and 2020, NYC’s traffic deaths fell 19%, while the US death rate rose 8% — an improvement that translates into a significant number of saved lives.”

Schmitt acknowledges New York’s density and uniquely robust toolkit, but writes that the city consciously devoted more resources to road safety than other major U.S. metropolises. Nearby Hoboken, New Jersey hasn’t had a traffic death in four years; similarly, Jersey City has not had a traffic death on non-state roads in 2022, since implementing more aggressive Vision Zero policies.

Schmitt warns us not to celebrate yet—after all, “Nationally, thanks to a combination of factors — most importantly growth in SUVs and extra-large pickups — deaths of pedestrians have grown 62% nationally since 2009, according to the nonprofit advocacy organization Smart Growth America.” But the successes seen in cities like New York and Hoboken show that progress is possible, if policies at the state and federal level can align with local needs. “There is evidence that well-funded sustained investments in reducing traffic deaths can work, not just abroad but in the US.”

Friday, November 25, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

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