Chair: Gerard Soffian, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Vice Chair: Timothy E. Barnett, Alabama Department of Transportation, Troy, AL, USA
ITE Vision Zero Standing Committee: Statement of Intent
In 2020, ITE launched its Vision Zero Standing Committee to aggressively advance the goals of the Vision Zero and Towards Zero Deaths movements. This Standing Committee involves partners from a variety of public, private, and other non-profit organizations, as well as passionate volunteers from ITE’s own membership. You can read the full statement of intent here.
What is Vision Zero?
According to the Vision Zero Network, Vision Zero is "a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all."
How is Vision Zero Different Than Traditional Safety Planning?
Vision Zero is a wholly different approach to safety planning than traditional practice, starting with the fact that it is focused on fatality and serious injury elimination, rather than reduction. The Vision Zero Network identifies two primary distinctions between Vision Zero and the current safety-planning paradigm:
- Vision Zero acknowledges that traffic deaths and severe injuries are preventable and sets the goal of eliminating both in a set period with clear, measurable strategies. This is a major shift for most North American communities by establishing clear accountability to ensure safe mobility. History has shown, with campaigns to reduce drunk driving and initiatives to increase recycling, that changing cultural attitudes and ensuring political accountability make a dramatic difference—and increase success.
- Vision Zero is a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together diverse and necessary stakeholders to address this complex problem. In the past, meaningful, cross-disciplinary collaboration among local traffic planners and engineers, law enforcement officials, policymakers, and public health professionals has not been the norm. Vision Zero acknowledges that there are many factors that contribute to safe mobility—including roadway design, speeds, enforcement, behaviors, technology, and policies—and sets clear goals to achieve the shared goal of zero fatalities and severe injuries.
How Does Vision Zero Compare to Other National and International Efforts to Eliminate Fatalities?
A number of different programs exist which aim to promote the goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries. ITE's embrace of Vision Zero is not a formal endorsement of any one program, but rather an acknowledgment of the ultimate goal for our members and their work on public roadways around the globe to eliminate traffic deaths and severe injuries.
ITE is actively involved in a number of Vision Zero-themed programs, either directly through committee service or indirectly through partnerships with member organizations. Several of these programs and initiatives include:
- The Vision Zero Initiative is based on the Swedish government's original plans to eliminate roadway fatalities. Vision Zero has been wholly embraced by the Swedish Transport Administration (STA). A number of resources, including an ITE Talks Transportation podcast interview with STA Traffic Safety Strategist Matts-Ake Belin, are available on the On-Demand Resource Page.
- Towards Zero Deaths is an initiative promoted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and numerous state Departments of Transportation (DOTs).
- The Vision Zero Network (VZN) is an organization focused on using leading edge cities and champion organizations to build and sustain momentum for the Vision Zero movement. The April 2016 ITE Journal article, “All Roads Lead to Zero” includes a formal description of the VZN, along with an interview with the Network’s Director, Leah Shahum.
- The Road to Zero Coalition, of which ITE is a steering group member, is a partnership between the National Safety Council, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and dozens of other associations and interest groups that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in the United States within 30 years. An ITE Talks Transportation podcast interview with Deborah (Debbie) Hersman, chair of the Road to Zero Coalition and president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council, is available on the On-Demand Resource Page.