Vision Zero

The Washington Post Writers Group: “Vision Zero” — no more deaths from highway accidents. The idea was born in Sweden, where it’s had spectacular success in reducing traffic fatalities. Now zeroing out all traffic fatalities must become an explicit U.S. and worldwide goal. Otherwise we have no prospect of taming the appalling roadway death toll — 42,000 lives lost yearly in the United States, close to 1.2 million worldwide. [snip -ed]

How did the Swedes do it? Tough seat belt and helmet laws, to be sure. But they’ve also begun to remake their roadways. Red lights at intersections (which encourage drivers to accelerate dangerously to “beat the light”) are being replaced with traffic circles. Four-foot high barriers of lightweight but tough Mylar are being installed down the center of roadways to prevent head-on collisions. On local streets, narrowed roadways and speed bumps, plus raised pedestrian crosswalks, limit speeds to a generally non-lethal 20 miles an hour.

[As said… imagine if that 42,000 death toll was from Jet crashes? Or a drug? Why is it an acceptable part of our lives since it comes from traffic? That’s an awful lot of maximal system failures. We need to do better, and it starts with a Vision Zero plan for the country. Who’s going to step up? So many roads in my neighborhood are barely safe because of the style of driving they reinforce. Walking is extremely dangerous during the day and nearly suicidal at night. Bike riding is horrendously dangerous at all times. Parking lot driving habits are awful… and the lots themselves are poorly designed. We must stop the madness.]