San Francisco — Ten U.S. cities announced their plans to step up efforts to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users by joining the new Vision Zero Focus Cities program, launched by the Vision Zero Network.

The 10 Vision Zero Focus Cities include:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • Portland, Ore.
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

“These cities are the pioneers who will save lives by modernizing our approach to traffic safety,” said Leah Shahum, Director of the Vision Zero Network, a national nonprofit campaign. “For too long, communities have accepted traffic fatalities and injuries as normal. The Vision Zero Focus Cities are standing up to challenge ‘business as usual’ and to show cities around the world that these tragedies are unacceptable and preventable.”

The 10 Focus Cities were selected based on their commitment to Vision Zero: the transformative approach launched nearly 20 years ago in Sweden that challenges the inevitability of human losses in traffic and prioritizes safety above all in reaching zero traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users. The Focus Cities also commit to work collaboratively with their peers to develop and share best practices toward a successful American prototype of Vision Zero and to serve as models for other communities.

Showcasing top-level support for the Vision Zero Focus Cities program, mayors in leading cities shared their excitement and commitment to the initiative.

“We won’t accept any loss of life on New York City streets as inevitable,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Under Vision Zero, we just had the safest year on our roadways since recordkeeping began all the way back in 1910 — and we are committed to doing even more. Every day, we are working to apply the tools we have, innovate new approaches, and share life-saving strategies with our sister cities. Together, as Vision Zero Focus Cities, we can protect our families and strengthen our communities.”

“San Francisco is building safer, better streets, educating the public about traffic safety and increasing enforcement to better protect our residents and reach our Vision Zero goals,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We are using a data-driven, multi-disciplinary approach to make our streets safer for all road users – those walking, bicycling, driving, and taking transit – and we are proud to participate in the national Vision Zero Focus Cities program.”

“Seattle is proud to be part of the growing worldwide Vision Zero movement, which includes the belief that death and injury on city streets is unacceptable and preventable,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Through smarter street design, focused enforcement, and education, we will make our streets even safer for people of all ages and abilities, especially pedestrians and people on bikes, as they’re the most vulnerable to death and injury on our streets.”

Mayor Steve Adler of Austin added: “Let me be clear: We have way too many traffic fatalities in Austin, but the goal isn’t fewer, it’s zero. By sharing ideas and lessons with other cities committed to Vision Zero, we can move the needle on public safety across the nation. Great cities do big things, and participating in the Vision Zero Focus Cities program will help us accomplish our goal.”

New Program Fosters Collaboration to Accelerate Progress

Cities across the nation face similar challenges in ensuring safe mobility for all. The new Vision Zero Focus Cities program creates a collaborative network of early-adopter Vision Zero cities to build a common vision, and to develop and share winning strategies toward eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

Recognizing the importance of a stepped-up, multi-departmental, collaborative approach to advance Vision Zero, participants in the Focus Cities program will include representatives of each city’s Mayor’s Office, Transportation Department, Police Department, and Public Health Department. In addition, a concurrent track for collaboration will bring together Vision Zero community advocates from each of the Focus Cities.

The Vision Zero Network will facilitate cooperation amongst the Focus Cities, including peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and strategies, sharing data, and regular communication to not only advance the cities’ individual efforts but also advance the state of the practice of traffic safety in cities across the nation.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) is partnering with the Vision Zero Network to support the local transportation leaders within the Focus Cities.

“Our goal is zero, but when it comes to preventing traffic deaths, there’s safety in numbers. That’s why NACTO has banded together transportation agencies coast to coast to engineer safer streets,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, Chair of NACTO. “Today, by aligning our design expertise with the Vision Zero Network’s expansive advocacy, we’re bringing more muscle than ever to our fight to stop crashes and save lives.”

Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and President of NACTO, added: “Los Angeles is proud to join the Vision Zero Focus Cities program. Our shared goals to stop traffic deaths are ambitious and urgent. We will get there faster together by learning from one another.”

“We’re excited to be able to draw upon the knowledge and experience of national experts as we implement Vision Zero in our local community,” said Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman. “Through collaboration and innovation, our ‘Team of Champions’ will work to improve street design, strengthen education, expand enforcement, and evaluate progress, all in an effort to achieve fatality-free streets and save lives. It’s an ambitious challenge, but one we’re ready to tackle head on, alongside our Vision Zero Focus Cities partners.”

Emerging Cities Catalyze Nationwide Vision Zero Momentum

Today, the Vision Zero Network also launched the Vision Zero Emerging Cities program, which supports the efforts of additional cities committing to Vision Zero across the nation. These may be communities earlier in their development of Vision Zero, but no less dedicated to the goal of ensuring their streets and sidewalks are safe for all. Early leaders within the group of Vision Zero Emerging Cities include San Jose, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Eugene; OR. In addition, cities working to develop a Vision Zero strategy, such as Denver, CO and New Orleans, LA, plan to participate in the Emerging Cities program to advance their efforts.

“Vision Zero is absolutely achievable,” said San Antonio City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales. “Traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our city streets are not normal, unavoidable consequences of modern life. They are the result of public policy that prioritizes mobility over safety. Not only is Vision Zero achievable, I believe it is linked directly to environment, health, equity and quality of life in cities across the nation.”

Expanding and Deepening the Network for a Healthier Nation

The Focus and Emerging Cities programs are new, core components of the Vision Zero Network, which was launched in Spring 2015 to support and advance the goals of Vision Zero across the country. The Network is supported, in part, by Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system, in an effort to reverse the troubling trends on our streets and sidewalks — someone is killed while walking in America every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes, while an alarming number of deaths and illnesses stem from sedentary lifestyles.

“Kaiser Permanente is proud to support the important work of the Vision Zero Network as it catalyzes cooperation among communities eager to offer safe streets and healthy transportation options for all, particularly the growing number of people choosing to walk and bicycle,” said Tyler Norris, Vice President, Total Health Partnerships, Kaiser Permanente. “These new initiatives advancing Vision Zero across the nation are great examples of engaging diverse stakeholders in the critical work of improving health, and assuring healthy environments for all community members.”

To learn more about the Vision Zero Focus Cities and Emerging Cities programs, visit visionzeronetwork.org 

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