Vision Zero Exposed As United Nations Communist Plan To Restrict Travel By Vehicle. Plan Implemented In Name Of Safety By City Mayors Across United States.
Vision Zero Isn’t Working
An article posted on the Atlantic‘s CityLab last week documented that many of the cities that have adopted “vision zero” policies have seen pedestrian fatalities sharply increase. These cities, notes the article, have “spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, rebuilding streets to calm traffic and reduce driving, lobbying for speed limit reductions, launching public awareness campaigns, and retraining police departments.” Yet Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, among others, saw sharp increases in pedestrian and/or bicycle fatalities after adopting Vision Zero policies.
This won’t be a surprise to Antiplanner readers. As described in Policy Brief #25, Vision Zero is an overly simplistic strategy that fails to solve the real problems that are causing pedestrian fatalities to rise.
Vision Zero is based on the observation that pedestrians hit by cars traveling at high speeds are more likely to die than if the cars are traveling at low speeds. So Vision Zero’s primary tactic is to reduce driving speeds. Vision Zero’s secondary goal is to reduce driving period by making auto travel slower and less desirable compared to the alternatives. Neither of these are working very well.
As Policy Brief #25 noted, the real problem isn’t speed but design. The fastest driving speeds are on urban freeways, yet they have the lowest pedestrian fatality rates because pedestrians are normally excluded from the freeways. Traffic on one-way streets tends to be faster than on two-way streets, yet pedestrians suffer fewer accidents on one-way streets because they only have to worry about traffic coming from one direction when crossing the streets.
Moreover, simply slowing daytime traffic doesn’t treat another major problem, which is unsafe behavior. More pedestrians die and the rise in fatalities is greater during the three-hour period between 3 am and 6 am than the nine-hour period between 9 am and 6 pm. Most fatalities are also away from intersections and a high percentage of nighttime pedestrians who died had alcohol in their bloodstreams. Presumably the same is true for the drivers, but the data don’t report driver alcohol levels for pedestrian accidents alone.
Better street lighting, better enforcement of driving under the influence laws, and policies aimed at discouraging people from crossing the streets outside of designated crosswalks, especially at night, would be more successful at reducing fatalities than increasing traffic congestion during rush hours, which is really what Vision Zero is all about.
We can say for certain that Vision Zero’s efforts to reduce driving have failed. Chicago and Los Angeles were the first major cities to adopt Vision Zero goals in 2012. Since then, per capita driving in Chicago has grown by more than 5 percent while in Los Angeles it has grown more than 2 percent.
For decades, traffic engineers followed a tried-and-true formula for reducing auto fatalities: improve roadway designs in ways that reduce the number and impact of accidents. Vision Zero has diverted cities from that formula in an overt anti-auto strategy that sometimes actually makes streets more dangerous (such as when one-way streets are converted to two-way operation). So it is no surprise that Vision Zero isn’t working.
What Happens When a City Tries to End Traffic Deaths.
NOVEMBER 21, 201
Several years into a ten-year “Vision Zero” target, some cities that took on a radical safety challenge are seeing traffic fatalities go up.
In 2012, Chicago ventured where no other big U.S. city had. Under then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city set a mission of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries in 10 years. The city didn’t mention “Vision Zero” by name, but its ambitious goal took inspiration from that road safety policy platform enacted 15 years prior in Sweden, leading to one of the lowest national traffic mortality rates in the world.
The basic logic of Vision Zero is that any traffic collision that results in death or serious injury—whether for a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist, or any other road user—isn’t an unavoidable “accident,” but a tragedy that could be prevented through smarter engineering, education, and enforcement.
Seven years later, dozens of U.S. cities have hopped on the Vision Zero bandwagon, pledging to stop traffic fatalities in ambitious time frames. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, rebuilding streets to calm traffic and reduce driving, lobbying for speed limit reductions, launching public awareness campaigns, and retraining police departments.
Yet while some places have managed to bend their traffic fatality curves, others have struggled to budge a transportation status quo that prioritizes the ease of driving over the safety of other people on the road. Since 2013, the numbers of deaths among U.S. pedestrians and cyclists have risen by nearly 30 percent and 14 percent respectively, nationwide.
That pattern is shared in several cities wearing the Vision Zero mantle, according to a CityLab analysis of traffic fatalities in five major cities that were among the first in the U.S. to establish Vision Zero targets. Three of the cities, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have seen fatalities rise or remain relatively flat. Two others, San Francisco and New York City, have made headway towards zero, but are seeing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities creep up more recently.
Most of these cities have fatality rates below the national average, and it’s possible to see substantial, non-linear changes in the total number of fatalities from year to year. But based on their rate of change to date, none of these five cities are on pace to reach zero traffic fatalities for decades, let alone by their ten-year targets.
These five early adopter cities were selected by CityLab for analysis because of their size and geographic diversity. Other cities that were among the first to embrace the zero-casualties platform are also unlikely to meet their targets, including Austin and San Jose, which have seen an upturn in fatalities since launching their programs in late 2014 and mid-2015 respectively. The roadside death toll in Seattle, which announced its plan to end traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 in early 2015, has stayed flat for years.
Several factors are fueling this disconcerting trend, from low gas prices that make it easier to drive, rollbacks on state-level traffic safety laws, the ongoing prevalence of digital distractions, and the rising popularity of ride-hailing services and heavy-duty SUVs. Such factors are frustratingly beyond the control of local leaders. But mayors, city councilmembers, and safety advocates have often struggled with local politics and state preemptions to make as much headway as they hoped. What seemed like a universally unassailable goal, ending preventable deaths, has proven a sticky political quagmire in many cities—one that hardly moves until someone else dies.