Deaths and serious crashes on our streets are not inevitable. In fact, with the right mix of street engineering, education and enforcement, they can be prevented. These principles are at the heart of Vision Zero, a world-wide street safety movement that aims to dramatically reduce fatal and serious crashes.
In 2013, PBOT made Vision Zero a fundamental goal of the Bureau’s work. In 2015, we made it a pillar of Portland Progress I, and we have dedicated the bureau to moving toward zero traffic fatalities by 2025. We did this because we believe that all Portlanders deserve safe streets. Safe streets save lives. They connect communities and support neighborhoods where Portlanders can enjoy their streets as a resource instead of being concerned about them as a risk factor.
As people travel faster, the risk of death or serious injury rises dramatically. Lowering speed limits and increasing enforcement slows drivers and protects people: a person struck by a car traveling at 40 miles per hour has an 85% chance of dying. At 30 miles per hour, they have a 45% chance of dying. As driver speed increases, the cone of vision narrows. Reaction distance and braking distance increase. Source: Nelson\Nygaard
Pedestrians, our most vulnerable street users, are disproportionately represented in city traffic fatalities—10% of people identify walking as their primary way to travel, but pedestrians make up nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths. Source: 2004–2013 ODOT crash data
Vision Zero is the bold goal to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries on Portland streets by 2025. Vision Zero reaches beyond traditional transportation agency safety programs. It is a multi-agency, multi-partner initiative that requires cooperation, commitment, urgency, and action across the community.
In our daily work and in the strategies that support this fundamental goal -- Invest in Safety, Fixing Streets, Create Livable Neighborhoods -- we are focused on taking equitable and data-driven steps to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on Portland’s streets. As a centerpiece of our efforts, we will implement the Vision Zero Action Plan, which was the result of a year-long effort by PBOT, Portland’s Police and Fire Bureaus; regional and state government representatives; and partners in emergency response, public health and community organizations.