In the last three months, the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County School Board and the County Commission passed resolutions endorsing Vision Zero. The Vision Zero movement began in Sweden, which was able to reduce traffic deaths by 34% over twelve years, and the idea has since been adopted by many U.S. cities. On January 26, the Hillsborough MPO’s Policy Committee agreed to host four collaborative workshops over the course of the coming year to help Tampa and Hillsborough County draft a Vision Zero Action Plan.
New York City adopted a Vision Zero Action Plan more than two years ago and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 2015 was officially the safest year on NYC’s streets since traffic record-keeping started there in 1910. New York City’s pedestrian deaths reached a historic low of 134 in 2015, a 27% reduction from the prior year. Comparatively, in 2015 Hillsborough County experienced 193 traffic deaths with 51 of those being pedestrians fatalities. This a 50% increase in fatalities for people walking in Hillsborough.
We can learn from New York City’s success by considering their 2016 priorities as we develop our Vision Zero Action Plan. The priorities are:
- More safety redesigns of crash-prone corridors and intersections
- Safer left turns which account for nearly 30% of fatal and serious injury pedestrian crashes – the City is undertaking a 100-intersection pilot initiative to test safer left turn designs
- Safer bicycle routes building on the record 12 miles of physically-protected bike lanes created in 2015, the most in a single year.
- Targeted enforcement to protect seniors who comprise 13% of the city’s population but 38% of the city’s pedestrian fatalities in 2015 – the NYPD is undertaking aggressive enforcement against dangerous driving near the city’s 250 senior centers
- Speed enforcement cameras that lead to violations for excessive speeding in a school zones – violations declined by half at locations after speed cameras were installed
- The Department of Education and the DOT are working together to incorporate a Vision Zero curriculum designed for 4th – 6th graders starting in the 2016-2017 school year