Vision Zero, or is it Zero Vision?

Canadians are too tolerant of unsafe roads, and unsafe cities, and unsafe neighbourhoods.

There is a lot written about this, only some of which is readily understandable.

I thought this video made the case in simple English with persuasively related pictures:

It’s from a longer story here:

One could make a very similar video with pedestrians as the key focus, rather than the numerous cycling illustrations. Vision Zero isn’t about cycling safety, it about everyone’s safety.

The five key principles behind vision zero for systematic safety are:

  • speed control and separation of incompatible users (we do this for motor vehicles – compare Preston with the Qway; but we don’t do this  between cars and other modes)
  • avoid incompatible functions or goals for the same streets (Ottawa has repudiated this concept, roads are treated like streets and streets like roads)
  • predictability and simplicity
  • forgivingness of errors, and preventing users from making errors
  • state awareness, ie training, rule enforcement, stiff penalties for road violence

It’s never too late to do the right thing.

4 thoughts on “Vision Zero, or is it Zero Vision?

  1. That video was excellent. It seems so sensible to me that I’m baffled as to why we don’t see more of this sort of design here.

  2. Great video. we should hope that city designers here are aware of the principles. Now that the Elgin “Complete Street” project has been announced, it occurs to me that Elgin is one of these dual function streets where this design will pose major problem issues. Aside from the fact that I wonder if there was any coordination at the time just a few years ago, when Elgin was completely rebuild for millions of dollars. Now they plan to tear ti up – not great asset management.

  3. Thank you Eric for this excellent reference and video on “Vision Zero” traffic design principles.

    What I found interesting was how they differentiated between the design principles of a Main Street with Shops and a through street, which our city does not.

    The current redesign of the Richmond – Byron Corridor that is to be a “complete street” with separated cycle lanes should be incorporating these principles before intensification takes place

    With the new LRT phase 2 route between Cleary and new Orchard stations now settled, we are now seeing to start of new development along this route at 809 Richmond ( the site of the current Kristies Restaurant) with 250 apartment units . There are at least 5 or more sites along the North Side of Richmond that will be open to similar development. It is hard to see how Richmond will be able to continue as through street under these conditions.

    The redesign of Ottawa streets to adhere to zero vision principles will take a long time given what the City of Ottawa’s self imposed budgeting limitations. More funds could be found in other revenue streams such as photo radar if there were the political will to do so

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