Vision Zero initiative works to reduce vehicular accidents

The program hopes to reduce traffic-related deaths to 0 by 2030.

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A driver hits a pedestrian every five hours in Philadelphia. In 2016, there were 369 deaths or serious injuries as a result of traffic crashes in the city — just a little more than one per day.

Vision Zero is an initiative that strives to bring those numbers down to a big fat zero by 2030.

According to its website, Philadelphia is one of 27 cities in the country that have so far adopted the strategy. The idea behind it is to take natural human error into account on the road, as human life takes priority over mobility.

“We lose almost 100 people every year to traffic-related fatalities and four children are involved in a traffic crash every day in Philadelphia,” said Kelley Yemen, director of Complete Streets.

“A Vision Zero policy and program commits all of us to saying that every one of those people should be able to get home safely.”

According to the initiative, there are over 10,000 reported crashes in Philadelphia each year. Philadelphia also has a high rate of death for traffic-related incidents, with six traffic-related deaths per 100,000 residents. This tops Los Angeles’ 5.74 rate, and New York City’s 2.87.

Mayor Kenney signed an executive order to have zero traffic-related deaths by 2030 back in November.

“With the support of each and every Philadelphian, we can save lives and make our city’s streets safer,” he wrote in a letter.

The initiative is still in its early stages. Organizers are creating a technical report and identifying high-risk areas. In September, Vision Zero will release its official three-year plan.

In the meantime, they are focused on spreading the word.

Yemen said many of the changes drivers and pedestrians can expect to see down the line are things the city has already been doing, such as improving signal visibility and installing LED streetlights and speed cushions.

“A person hit at 20 miles per hour has a 10 percent chance of dying and a person hit at 40 miles per hour has a 90 percent chance of dying,” Yemen said.

Vision Zero’s full action plan can be viewed on its website, VisionZeroPHL.com ••