Traffic crashes are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Vision Zero is about eliminating deaths and serious injuries on our roadways. Sweden enacted the first Vision Zero policy in 1997. Other European countries quickly followed suit, and traffic fatalities have dropped in that continent by almost 50 percent.
In the past three years, more than a dozen cities across the U.S. have adopted and implemented Vision Zero policies. Trailnet is working to expand awareness and appreciation for Vision Zero, which is a philosophy, a policy, and a paradigm shift. It holds that all traffic deaths and serious injuries are unacceptable and preventable.
Vision Zero holds that by determining the locations and root causes of traffic crashes in a systematic manner, cities can employ engineering, education and enforcement in targeted ways that save lives and limbs of all who use our streets.
The need for a Vision Zero policy and comprehensive plan in St. Louis is clear. In response to the city’s high rate of traffic-related pedestrian deaths and serious injuries, the Federal Highway Administration designated St. Louis as a “focus city of concern” in 2011. That designation remains today as pedestrian safety problems persist.
In 2015, 21 people were killed while walking in St. Louis—more than five times the national average. In total, there were 49 traffic deaths in St. Louis in 2015: 27 of the people killed were in vehicles, 21 were on foot, and one was on a bicycle. There were also more than 5,000 people who received serious injuries from traffic crashes.
In January, Trailnet encouraged Mayor Slay to follow other cities across the country in adopting a Vision Zero policy, setting a goal for zero traffic fatalities, and developing a plan for getting there. In March, Trailnet was told the City does not have the resources to implement such a policy. We then asked our constituents to join us in asking the city, “What‘s the Plan?” for addressing pedestrian safety in St. Louis. By late April, the City responded by posting a four-page Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (2015/16)City’s Traffic Division website.
Moving forward, Trailnet will monitor the City’s progress in implementing the details outlined in their Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. We will continue to raise public awareness of the fact that traffic deaths are preventable, not inevitable. We will continue to promote awareness and encourage the adoption of Vision Zero policies by other cities in the metro region. We will also continue to monitor and occasionally report on the progress achieved by Vision Zero cities across the country.
Click here to learn more about Vision Zero.
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