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City releases update on Vision Zero plan designed to end serious traffic-related injuries and fatalities
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 by Bob Sechler
A two-year update on the city’s Vision Zero plan, an effort to eliminate traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities in Austin, has been released by officials. The report covers Vision Zero program activities in 2021 and 2022.
According to the city, key takeaways from the report include:
- Safety improvements are having an impact: Major intersection safety projects resulted in a 31 percent drop in serious injury or fatal crashes, the report says. Similarly, the South Pleasant Valley Road project, completed in collaboration with the Bikeways bond program in 2021, is showing an 82 percent reduction in injury/fatal crashes of all modes, according to the report.
- The work must continue: Consistent with national trends, injuries and fatalities in Austin over the past two years remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. Fatal crashes increased on state-owned roadways within Austin, while the number remained relatively flat on non-state-owned roadways. With over 600 people seriously injured or killed each year in Austin, the city says in the report that it’s committed to scaling up Vision Zero work to meet the level of the challenge.
- The core problem: Austin has a transportation system that wasn’t designed to account for human mistakes and doesn’t adequately mitigate the potential severity of crashes. Retrofitting the system for safer mobility is a goal of Vision Zero.
The report also notes what the city considers key accomplishments of Vision Zero in 2021 and 2022, including:
- Completion of seven major intersection safety projects and initiation of construction, design or scoping on another 25.
- Installation of low-cost, high-impact systemic projects at more than 40 locations.
- Lowering of speed limits on nearly 50 arterial streets and hundreds of residential streets.
- Leveraging of local community bond dollars to secure over $27 million in federal funds to increase the scale and scope of Vision Zero’s engineering work.
The Vision Zero Two-Year Update 2021-2022, available in PDF form from the Austin Transportation and Public Works departments, also discusses how Vision Zero is using data and analytics to inform its safety work, how it is endeavoring to engage the community and other stakeholders to help strengthen the breadth and depth of safety work across Austin, and how it is attempting to apply an equity lens to all of its safety initiatives to address racial disparities that exist among severe crash victims. The report concludes with a discussion of the work Vision Zero will focus on over the next two years, as well as the names of those who lost their lives in crashes in 2021 and 2022.
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