Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that the City of Chicago is intensifying its efforts at saving lives and preventing serious injuries on its roads through a three-year Vision Zero Chicago Action Plan.
The data-driven, multi-agency approach looks at traffic safety as a public health challenge and is designed to improve road safety for all users. The ultimate goal of Vision Zero is to reduce roadway crashes and eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Chicago by 2026. A dozen city departments and agencies have been working for months with traffic safety stakeholders to develop the Action Plan, which covers the first three years of the effort, and is based on the principles of the international Vision Zero movement. It incorporates traffic crash data, identifies the greatest opportunities for change, and establishes the city’s priorities and resources for addressing the challenge.
The planning process was coordinated by the Mayor’s Office and led by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Police Department. The plan lays out four key goals and specific strategies:
Invest in communities that are most affected by severe traffic crashes;
Work to change behaviors and perceptions to build a culture of a safety;
Make streets safer for all users;
Encourage and implement policies, training and technologies that create safer vehicles and professional drivers.
While Chicago has seen a downward trend in traffic crashes over the last decade, this has leveled off in recent years. More than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured in traffic crashes in the city each year, with an average of five people seriously injured each day, and one person killed every three days. The city has used crash data to identify 43 High Crash Corridors and eight High Crash Areas, and police efforts will be focused on education and engagement events at these locations. CDOT is committed to improving 300 intersections to make them safer for pedestrians. The agency will also work with the Chicago Transit Authority to improve access and safety at 25 transit stations, encouraging the use of transit through targeted safety improvements near stations and bus stops, particularly in high crash zones.
“Chicago has made progress in making our streets safer, but we still experience far too many traffic crashes. The status quo is unacceptable,” said Emanuel. “We will streamline our efforts to protect the lives, health and well-being of all citizens.”