Two reports were recently delivered to Austin city officials regarding Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a plan to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious accidents by 2025. The reports, the Vision Zero Report Card and Annual Report, explain what steps the city is implementing to reduce accidents. But unfortunately, the recent numbers indicate that the program is not working as well as intended.
The program consists of 84 action items aimed at reducing accidents. 73 of these items are ongoing or complete.
The reports state that through August 23, 41 people have died in traffic accidents in Austin. In 2016, there were 44 deaths through the same time period, with 79 recorded by the end of the year. This suggests that despite Vision Zero, there has been little to no change in traffic deaths.
Moving Forward with Vision Zero
Among the parts of Vision Zero not yet implemented are a public awareness campaign and policy work. Next year, the city plans to push a comprehensive public education plan aimed at changing bad driving behaviors. It will also install more than 500 crosswalk timers. The city believes these timers will reduce crashes by up to 25 percent.
Additionally, the budget next year could include $400,000 in operational expenses for Vision Zero to establish a regional safety plan. Another $200,000 comes from a federal grant to help pay for the crosswalk timers.
Vision Zero is a long-term plan. Just because we are not seeing much in the line of immediate results does not mean that it will not work. With more time and focus, there is still a chance that Vision Zero can dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, traffic deaths in Austin.