Since adopting a Vision Zero goal in 2012 to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2022, the City of Chicago has taken many steps to make our streets safer and save lives.
Unlike peer cities in the U.S. and around the world, this initial progress has been achieved without a multi-year action plan or more dedicated funding for safety improvements in the city budget.
Now it appears city leaders may be prepared to take these next critical next steps.
On Tuesday, the Vision Zero Network announced that Chicago will participate in the Network’s inaugural Focus Cities Program. Chicago and nine other U.S. cities were selected based on their commitment to Vision Zero and willingness to work together to achieve further progress.
Vision Zero is an international traffic safety movement guided by the principle that no loss of life on our streets is acceptable. Traffic crashes are not mere “accidents,” but preventable incidents that can be reduced and eliminated with systemic changes.
As a Vision Zero Focus City, representatives from Chicago’s Mayor’s Office, transportation department, police department and public health department will work with their peers in other cities to share best practices and proven strategies to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries. Community advocates from across the city will also participate.
After the 2015 municipal elections, Active Trans was joined by physicians, traffic safety experts and victims of traffic crashes in calling on the city to make more progress on Vision Zero. Specifically, we asked city leaders to:
Establish a Vision Zero task force charged with identifying and implementing the most effective strategies
Develop an action plan that brings all public agencies to the table — including transportation, public health, police, water management and others — and assigns responsibility and accountability for long overdue safety improvements.
By joining the Vision Zero Focus Cities Program, city leaders appear ready to take these next steps. Now it’s up to us as advocates to make sure they follow through.
By Kyle Whitehead
This post originally appeared on activetrans.org