Pedestrian safety has dangerously declined in recent years. In the past decade, the number of people killed while walking in the U.S. has increased a distressing 46% (2010-2019), according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In 2019, an estimated 6,590 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads, the highest number in more than 30 years.
And across the board, road safety is deteriorating for all road users. The first six months of 2020 had more fatal crashes than the same time the year before, even with many people staying at home due to the pandemic, according to GHSA reports. Preliminary statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC) point to the increase in traffic fatalities continuing in 2021.
October was Pedestrian Safety Month, and to mark the occasion, we’re highlighting the important and growing movement for Vision Zero: the goal to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries among all road users.
Vision Zero Focuses on Road Safety For All
Vision Zero is a shift in how we approach traffic safety with the goal of ensuring that everyone gets where they are going safely, no matter which mode of transportation they use. Vision Zero is built around the belief that everyone has the right to move safely on our roads, sidewalks, and bikeways. At its core, Vision Zero recognizes that people will sometimes make mistakes, so the road system and related policies (such as speeds) should be designed to ensure those inevitable mistakes do not result in severe injuries or fatalities.
Vision Zero Network
The Vision Zero Network, a nonprofit organization, recognizes that most traffic crashes are preventable and champions a Safe System approach, which focuses on designing communities and roadways and setting policies that, by design, ensure safer outcomes for all road users. To accomplish this goal, the Vision Zero Network convenes public health, transportation planning and policy leaders, as well as community advocates and the private sector, to develop and share promising strategies that advance Vision Zero..
The Vision Zero Network is also teaming with Families for Safe Streets to honor and remember road traffic victims on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, November 21, 2021, an international event that honors and recognizes that 1.35 million people lose their lives to traffic crashes in the world each year, and that those tragedies are preventable.
Along with World Day of Remembrance, the Vision Zero Network is asking members of Congress to support the Resolution for Zero Traffic Deaths, introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), which would set and advance the first national goal for Vision Zero in the U.S.. Learn more and get involved in the national campaign to reach Vision Zero by 2050.
Autonomous Driving Technology Could Help Realize Vision Zero
Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company, was founded with a mission to make it safer for people to get where they are going, no matter which mode of transportation they choose, and envisions a future where people feel comfortable – and eager – to ride a bike, go on a walk, or hop on the bus.
Waymo’s autonomous driving technology is designed to carry out the tasks of a human driver and to be constantly vigilant, never speed, and identify road users and predict what they may do next. For example, Waymo’s technology is designed with pedestrian safety in mind, and its sensors are constantly scanning around the vehicle in every direction to identify their locations and direction of movement, whether they are walking on the sidewalk, crossing the street, or walking beside the street.
Together, we are working toward a future where everyone can move about their communities safely.
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