Vision Zero: Lessons from Edmonton and Sweden
Earlier this month, Parachute hosted a breakfast lecture on Vision Zero, the revolutionary movement that started in Sweden and has led to a dramatic decrease in that country’s traffic injuries and fatalities.
The session began by showcasing an impressive hard-hitting video produced by the City of Edmonton, the first Canadian city to officially adopt Vision Zero. Edmonton’s new approach to road safety is simply and powerfully: No loss of life is acceptable.
The keynote presentation by Dr. Matts Åke Belin, the Deputy Head of Sweden’s Traffic Safety Unit, was as inspiring as it was practical. Some highlights:
- Vision Zero is an ethical imperative and a paradigm shift.
- The traditional approach to road safety is that we need to educate road users. This approach assumes it’s never possible to reach everyone so as a result some injuries and fatalities are inevitable and is the price we have to pay for mobility.
- Instead of attempting to change individual road user behavior, the Vision Zero approach moves the responsibility to system designers to design for safe speeds that accommodate the mistakes that humans make.
- Belin recommends reallocating resources from enforcement (trying to catch speeders) to design. Design options such as medians and roundabouts have increased speed compliance in Sweden by up to 90%.
- There are diminishing returns for a “business as usual” approach. We have to change our strategies to significantly reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.
Parachute recorded Dr. Belin’s talk and uploaded his presentation slides. Highly recommended. Also in case you missed it, check out the passionate presentation by Leah Shahum, Director of the Vision Zero Network and one of TCAT’s 2015 Complete Streets Forum keynote speakers.
Posted On: December 17, 2015