U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Vern Buchanan (R-MA), and Ayanna Pressley (R-FL) introduced a bipartisan bill titled the Vision Zero Act, which would provide funding for cities that have adopted a Vision Zero program. What is the goal of the Vision Zero Campaign? It’s pretty simple. Reduce the amount of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities to zero. “The Vision Zero Act will allow federal funding to aid in reducing preventable traffic fatalities that are devastating communities across the country. Everyone deserves access to safe, equitable transportation options,” said Representative Blumenauer .
Representative Blumenauer, a longtime advocate of bicycling and multi-modal transportation, began this journey several years back in Portland, Oregon. The Vision Zero movement—first started in Sweden—was adopted in 2016 by Portland after the city’s legislation noticed that although motor vehicle fatalities were decreasing, pedestrian and cyclist’s fatalities were on the rise . This trend is not unique to Portland, nationally these types of fatalities have been increasing for five years. While pedestrian safety in urban areas continues to decline, 40% of the federal transportation’s $441 billion budget was spent on highways in 2017 . The issue most predominately effects low income and vulnerable residents, particularly in urban areas, who rely on alternative means of transportation like walking and cycling to go about their daily lives. The Vision Zero Act would provide these neglected urban areas with the means to making the appropriate improvements necessary to provide people of all backgrounds with safe transportation options. Currently, there are over forty Vision Zero programs in existence throughout the U.S. and while local champions area doing their best to advocate for the implementation of these programs, further government assistance would be a welcomed ally in efforts of reducing pedestrian fatalities.
This is not just happening in faraway places. Jersey City has their own Vision Zero project that was enacted in February 2018 . They adopted their action plan in February 2019, which details the means and goals necessary to create a safe transportation environment within the city. Additionally, there are outreach opportunities available for citizens to get involved. Jersey City aims to eliminate “fatal and serious injury traffic crashes” by 2026 . The city recognizes that this is an “ambitious”, but believes that this goal is doable by implementing five key strategies which include: designing safer streets, promoting a culture of safety, embedding vision zero in city practices, enforcement /law/policy as well as planning and leveraging data.
Recently, Hoboken has made moves of their own toward realizing a Vision Zero program. Earlier this past summer, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla signed an executive order on the implementation of a plan as well as a task force. The task force headed by the Director of Transportation and Parking, Ryan Sharp, and the Hoboken Police’s Lt. John Petrosino, will be in charge of creating the Vision Zero Action Plan and establishing a website where updates will be published .