Vision Zero is a global movement dedicated to the elimination of traffic deaths and injuries caused by vehicular collisions while increasing safe, healthy equitable mobility for all. It assumes the principle that everyone – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, road designers and maintenance crews have a responsibility in making our roads a safer and healthier shared space.
Vision Zero began in Sweden in 1997 and that country now has the lowest rate of traffic fatalities in the world. More recently, Vision Zero has been adopted by those considered to be leaders in traffic safety including countries such as Australia and England, and numerous major cities in the United States. In January 2016, Canada adopted Vision Zero as a federal strategy through Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2025.
According to the World Health Organization, traffic crashes claim 1.25 million lives annually and are the leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 29 years. This toll also includes 50 million injuries annually. Progress will only happen by way of substantial changes in attitude and public policy.
Central to Vision Zero is the shared responsibility between road users, designers, maintainers and operators of the transportation system. It also includes the adoption of a safe systems approach that does not ignore risk-taking behaviour but acknowledges human fallibility and the need to greater allowances for human error.
On May 16, 2017, Municipal Council adopted the following Vision Zero Principles:
- No loss of life is acceptable
- Traffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable
- We all make mistakes
- We are all physically vulnerable when involved in motor vehicle collisions
- Eliminating fatalities and serious injuries is a shared responsibility between road users and those who design and maintain our roadways
Prior to adopting the Vision Zero principals, the city and its partners worked on the implemented the 2014 – 2019 London Road Safety Strategy (LRSS). The mission and goal of the LRSS is to save lives and reduce serious injuries. The short term target is a non-linear 10% reduction in fatal and injury traffic collisions over five years. Initial collision statistics suggest the actions resulting from the plan are achieving the desired objective. The road safety strategy actions are aligned with the aspirational goal of Vision Zero.
London Road Safety Strategy Background
Injuries and deaths that result from motor vehicle collisions are a serious public health concern in London and Middlesex County; they take a toll on the victims’ families and friends, as well as the health and social services systems. Yet, most of these injuries and deaths are preventable and predictable through the use of strategic and effective road safety initiatives that not only include infrastructure changes and enforcement, but also public education. The London Road Safety Strategy is a plan that will set the stage for a coordinated approach that will be implemented by an active and knowledgeable partnership represented by the City of London, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Fanshawe College, London Health Sciences Centre, London Police Services, Middlesex County, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Ministry of Transportation, Western University, and Young Drivers of Canada.
The citizens of London and Middlesex County will benefit from the many road safety programs. This effort will deliver results that may prevent injuries and save lives. It is important that all road users understand their responsibilities when using roadways, whether they are driving a car, riding a bike or walking. We ask everyone to embrace the London Road Safety Strategy and to do their part in reducing, or better yet, eliminating the injuries and deaths related to motor vehicle collisions.