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Is New York City's Vision Zero plan increasing safety?

The Vision Zero Action Plan currently being used by New York City is designed to reduce traffic accidents and their resulting fatalities. It indicates that the City has a strong commitment to safety, and to the drivers, pedestrians and cyclists that all use the roadways and must interact with one another. The initiative has been ongoing for the last three years, and statistics show that traffic deaths have come down since its implementation. However, the concerns over how fast fatalities are being reduced and whether the plan has been successful in other areas shows that there is more work to be done.

What did Vision Zero change?

The Vision Zero Action Plan introduced many changes throughout NYC and its congested streets in order to move traffic more easily and increase safety for everyone who uses the roadways. These changes include:

  • Better street signs to help drivers avoid wrong turns and related problems
  • Lower speed limits so drivers slow down through more congested areas
  • More enforcement of moving violations, and higher penalties for those who receive these violations
  • More enforcement cameras to identify drivers who may make the roads more dangerous
  • Public outreach sessions to answer questions and help people understand the changes and benefits

With better enforcement of violations and penalties for dangerous drivers, along with roadway engineering that makes obeying traffic rules easier, Vision Zero is a plan that could bring about a safer future for the City. In three years, it has shown that a difference can be made, and that the national trend of rising traffic fatalities does not have to be in New York City's future.

Have accidents been reduced?

Overall, traffic fatalities have come down since the Vision Zero initiative began. Unfortunately, pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have increased. In 2016, there were only 229 traffic fatalities in New York City, which was a reduction of 23 percent from 2013. This goes against a national trend that has seen traffic fatalities on the rise. By doing everything from teaching school children how to cross streets safely to putting up more enforcement cameras and handing out stronger penalties to dangerous drivers, the Vision Zero plan is seeing progress in at least one area where reducing problems was important.

Due to efforts made by the City and because of their commitment to safety, the hope is that the Vision Zero initiative will continue to reduce traffic fatalities, and that the numbers of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities will decrease in the future. Some changes and adjustments may have to be made to the program in order for that to occur, and the work continues toward a safer city and safer roadways for everyone.

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