In 2000, Washington was the first U.S. state — or jurisdiction of any kind — to adopt a Vision Zero policy.
The state’s bold decision came after the Director of the Traffic Safety Commission, John Moffat, saw a presentation about Sweden’s Vision Zero, the original policy pioneered back in 1997. Vision Zero calls for infrastructure improvements, like narrower streets, better lighting, separated bike lanes, and protected intersections so that inevitable human error that happens when driving does not result in death or severe injury.
Washington state’s policy, called Target Zero, is somewhat different than Sweden’s Vision Zero, which focuses exclusively on protecting people walking and biking. Target Zero also includes eliminating fatalities of people in cars.
For its first decade, Target Zero proved effective, lowering pedestrian deaths from 77 in 2003 steadily downward to 50 in 2013, according to the state’s Pedestrian Safety Advisory Council’s 2018 Annual Report. But 2014 was a tough year, as pedestrian deaths began to surge both in the state and nationally.
Unable to swim against the tide, Washington state began a four-year climb from 2013 to 2017, which saw 109 deaths of people walking. During that time-span, pedestrian deaths went from 11.4 percent of Washington state’s total fatalities to 20 percent.
Deaths of people biking have also increased, from 20 in 2014-15 to 31 in 2016-17, according to the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Advisory Council. Although pedestrian and bicycle fatalities leveled off in 2018, It remains to be seen whether the state will start to move toward the Vision Zero goal once again.
Click here to read the full article: https://mobilitylab.org/2019/03/12/washington-state-did-vision-zero-first-heres-how-it-worked/