Review of Vision Zero Strategies

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Posted 1/21

Vision Zero is a policy goal and planning standard in which a municipality or other jurisdiction aims to reduce its number of transportation-related fatalities to zero. The traditional approach to roadway safety emphasizes the role of personal responsibility in preventing accidents, while a Vision Zero approach differs by shifting primary responsibility to the designers of the roadway network, and recognizing that faults in design are the primary cause of grievous injury and death.

This memorandum identifies the Vision Zero strategies that are most effective at reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries. The memorandum presents global case studies and provides an overview of specific strategies and implementation factors that have led to success. Most of the case studies are from international locations that have a longer history with Vision Zero and have experienced more success. In addition to Portland, Oregon, the case study locations include Sweden; the Netherlands; Oslo, Norway; and Helsinki, Finland. Finally, the memorandum provides guidance on expanding and enhancing Vision Zero policies in the Boston region.

This research also highlights concerns with applying Northern European models of governmental cooperation to the United States. In particular, some scholars and advocates note that the Vision Zero framework alone is not adequate for addressing the legacy of inequity in transportation planning or traffic enforcement in the United States. Acknowledging the need to adapt the Vision Zero framework can help municipalities in the Boston region tailor their approach to achieve local success.

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