Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. The goal of Vision Zero is the creation of a culture of safety in every country, state, city and county that adopts its principles.
The concept originated in Sweden in 1997 with a bill stating that “no one should be killed or seriously injured within the Swedish road transport system, and the structure and the function of the road transport system must be brought into line with the demands this goal entails.” The aim of Vision Zero is to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries through a combination of policy revisions and infrastructural improvements. Vision Zero maintains that people will always make errors as they navigate the roads, therefore infrastructure, vehicles and policies must be designed to reduce the harm caused when travelers, especially motor vehicle drivers, make mistakes. Vision Zero recognizes the need for a safe systems approach with its comprehensive, inclusive view of the entire road transport system. It also stresses the need for multi-sectoral engagement — the data, strategies, expertise, lessons learned, passion and commitment of every relevant segment working in collaboration, each lending its resources and technical skills that must be brought to the table.
Since the adoption of Vision Zero, Sweden has cut its fatalities to less than half, as have Norway and Finland. As a matter of fact, many countries and cities throughout the European Union as well as other locations who have adopted Vision Zero have achieved significant reductions in road crash deaths.
Vision Zero is not new to the United States. Chicago adopted Vision Zero in 2012, New York City and San Francisco in 2014 and Los Angeles in 2015, and many states, cities and counties have since followed suit.