Washington, D.C., will adopt a plan to eliminate traffic fatalities in the city, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced as part of the the Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. Specific elements of the Vision Zero plan–so-named because it aims to bring the number of citywide traffic deaths to zero–have not been released yet. It’s likely to include redesigning streets to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, according to reporting by American University radio station WAMU.
Inspired by a country-wide program adopted in Sweden in 1997, similar initiatives have taken root in New York City, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and other U.S. cities. In an interview with WAMU, the District’s mayor said lowering the speed limits in residential areas–a policy that dramatically reduces fatality rates–is unlikely. (The city already has a 25 mile per hour residential speed limit, the same as New York’s recently lowered default speed limit.)
This latest embrace of Vision Zero by a major U.S. city represents a step forward in making non-car transit options (relatively plentiful in D.C.) a little safer, and thus, more appealing to the average citizen. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, almost half of D.C.’s traffic fatalities in 2013 were pedestrians. More than 500 collisions involving pedestrians or cyclists occurred in the District during 2014.