Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Vision Zero mumbo jumbo

From Randal O'Toole at the Antiplanner (The Vision Zero Cult):

The Vision Zero Initiative seeks to reduce traffic deaths to zero–--certainly a worthy goal. However, I looked throughout its web site and couldn’t find anything about how they propose to achieve that goal. Instead, there is a lot of mumbo jumbo along with a few poorly chosen statistics about how safe roads are in Sweden. The lack of specific recommendations combined with the misuse of data leads me to believe that this initiative is no better than a cult trying to get money out of gullible government officials with the promise that, if they pay enough, they’ll get a magic formula to safer streets.

The statistic they most commonly use is number of traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. The problem with this is that this number is bound to be higher in countries where people drive the most...

Only by searching other web sites, including Wikipedia, do we learn Vision Zero’s secret: they make streets safer by slowing traffic down to a crawl...

See also this, this and this.

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At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Gregski said...

Good find, Rob!

Wonderful to see some validation for the clear-eyed view of Vision Zero as a faith-based cult.

The author also makes a coherent case for smoother traffic correlating with less danger and less mayhem. Did you know that one-way streets, besides carrying faster traffic, are less dangerous than (slower) two-way streets? I Didn't. Makes sense though.

Most of all, it's highly refreshing to read that somebody besides me thinks about the UTILITY of streets and sidewalks, not just the costs.

Since this Vision Zero idea emerged I have been astonished at how little realistic thinking has greeted it. It seems self-evident that the only way a modern city even approaches it, realistically, is to slow all traffic (including bikes, scooters and emergency vehicles) down to a fast walking pace of 5mph. Enforecement would require the Stasi-style recruitment of thousands of citizen informants equipped with cameras and radar guns, along with video and radar surveillance on every block. Even then, some fatalities would occur because...there will always be rule-breakers. And you can still crack your cranium and die in a 5mph collision.


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