Taking Stock of Vision Zero Three Years In

The de Blasio administration released its annual Vision Zero self-assessment this morning. Photo: Mayor's Office
The de Blasio administration released its annual Vision Zero self-assessment this morning. Photo: Mayor's Office

Earlier today, the mayor’s office released its “Vision Zero Year Three Report,” an 82-page self-assessment of City Hall’s efforts to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024.

The de Blasio administration has reduced fatalities every year — the first time in more than a decade the city has had a streak of three years with declining traffic deaths. But the pace of improvement leveled off in 2016, highlighting how much work remains to reach the Vision Zero target.


The initiatives in the report — like DOT’s 18 miles of protected bike lanes and pilot program for raised crosswalks — aren’t news, but the visualizations help convey exactly what the city is doing to improve street safety.

Last year, for instance, DOT installed 776 LPIs, which give crossing pedestrians a head start on motorists. Before Vision Zero, the agency typically installed only 16 of these treatments annually. The map below shows the locations of LPIs installed since 2014:

DOT has installed more than one thousand new leading pedestrian intervals since Mayor de Blasio took office. Image: <a href="
DOT has rapidly accelerated implementation of leading pedestrian intervals since Mayor de Blasio took office. Image: Vision Zero Year Three Report

Another area where DOT has made rapid progress: intersection improvements to make left turns safer, which have been installed at 107 locations since August. Transportation Alternatives’ Research and Policy Manager Julia Kite attributed the quick action to a “data-driven approach” that identified dangerous intersections where cost-effective interventions could have an impact.

“The fact that [DOT was] able to roll those out in one year really gives faith that it’s something we can see spread across the city,” she said.

The report also illustrates how NYPD has shifted its enforcement priorities to emphasize six “Vision Zero violations” — speeding, failure-to-yield, failure to stop at a traffic signal, illegal turns, using a cell phone, and disobeying street signs. Those offenses accounted for 61 percent of total moving violations last year, compared to 46 percent in the three years preceding the launch of Vision Zero.

Under the de Blasio administration, summonses for "Vision Zero" offenses have risen compared to other moving violations. Image: Vision Zero Year Three Report
Image: Vision Zero Year Three Report

These interventions have made a notable difference at the dangerous “priority locations” where the city is focusing resources and attention:

Image: Vision Zero Year Three Report

Nevertheless, total traffic fatalities didn’t change much last year, and pedestrian and cyclist fatalities increased. The city will need to take bolder action and not shy away from transformative changes, Kite said, in order to make a substantial dent in the number of traffic fatalities.

“It probably will take something very, very drastic,” she said. “It’s good to see so many priority locations received treatments in 2016, but there are still a lot waiting for significant interventions.”

  • c2check

    Man, they could make a killing on drivers running red lights if they applied themselves!
    I suggest 42/5th, or 14/5th, but I’m sure there are lots of great opportunities all over 🙂

  • Lou_Lombardo

    NYC results should recognize that these reductions came at a time of increasing fatalities nationwide. The National Safety Council estimates on rising fatalities reports:
    “For the first time in nearly a decade, preliminary data from the National Safety Council
    estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016.
    That marks a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014 – the
    most dramatic two-year escalation in 53 years.” ?

  • vnm

    Or illegal turns or illegal u-turns at basically any intersection.

  • Or people who stop ahead of the stop line and even in the crosswalk; or people who violate alternate side parking rules.

    Just today I saw a street sweeper have to constantly go around cars parked where they didn’t belong on Meserole Street in Brooklyn. There should be a tow truck that follows ever street sweeper in order to take away every car that is parked on the wrong side of the street.

  • Eric McClure

    That describes every Monday and Tuesday on my block to a T. Such a simple concept, so hard for entitled drivers to manage.

  • AirFlow Deflector

    New York City has committed to Vision Zero – an acknowledgement that deaths and serious injuries on its roads are preventable and unacceptable and a goal to eliminate
    them completely is underway.

  • Tyson White

    Very good point. The nationwide trend can be attributed to increased vehicle miles traveled as a result of lower gas prices. In NYC, however, it would seem that vehicle travel is less dependent on fluctuations in gas prices. In fact, a report I saw indicated that there’s been a decline in the number of cars entering the city over the past few years. Possibly because of the influx of for hire (Uber/Lift) vehicles which enter the city only once, but roam the city all day creating congestion and slowing traffic which may deter other drivers from driving into the city.


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