Philadelphia Adopts Vision Zero Action Plan

Driving. It’s amazing. We drive to work, to the store, to the movies, to landmarks, and to many other amazing destinations.

So many of us do it every single day, yet few of us think about the actual dangers involved in driving.

Philadelphia traffic-related death statistics

Although many people are afraid to fly, not many are afraid to drive, even though they’re statistically significantly more likely to be involved in a car accident.

In fact, over 37,000 people die per year in car accidents in the United States alone.

Philadelphia has had enough of these tragedies.

That’s why the government recently announced the Vision Zero Action Plan that they will implement over the next three years to increase traffic safety.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero Action Plan Participating CountriesCreated in Sweden in 1997, Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety project. The goal of Vision Zero is to eliminate traffic injuries and deaths from the highway system.

A project based on ethics, those who work in Vision Zero believe that it is unethical for people to die or experience a serious injury while making use of the transport system in place.

Instead of holding the traditional perspective of safety falling solely on the drivers, Vision Zero believes that there is a shared responsibility between the transportation designers and the drivers.

The following countries have now adopted the Vision Zero project:

  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Philadelphia is just the latest in a string of cities in the United States to adopt the plan.

Philadelphia’s Plan

After announcing on September 28th, 2017 that they came to an agreement following months of debate, Philadelphia released its Vision Zero Action Plan.

Their three-year plan focuses on fundamental goals to reduce the amount of traffic-related injuries and deaths by the year 2030. According to the Philadelphia Health Commissioner, Vision Zero is a health issue in ways that you may not have imagined.

Since a significant part of this plan is to get people out of cars and onto bicycles or sidewalks, there are several benefits. While the obvious benefit is that there will be fewer people dying and becoming injured in vehicles, there are a few other added benefits:

  • Getting on a bicycle or using a sidewalk increases physical activity. Individuals who are physically active are less likely to experience heart problems, obesity, diabetes, and stroke than those who are physically inactive.
  • Fewer cars on the road mean less pollution. Since pollution is a major health risk for many, reducing vehicle emissions helps to improve public health.
  • Fewer cars on the road also mean less stress for many. Whether it’s sitting in traffic or listening to the noise of traffic, the stress adds up for those that spend a lot of time on or next to roads.

However, make no mistake that safety is the primary focus of this new plan.

“If more people walk and bike it will actually reduce the number of injuries,” said Thomas Farley, Head of Philadelphia’s Public Health. “Cities that have more people walking and bicycling on the street have fewer injuries because of their safety in numbers.”

The Unsettling Numbers

Each year, there are around 100 people killed in traffic-related incidents in the Philadelphia area, and an average of four children are involved in accidents each day. In fact, Philadelphia has a higher rate of traffic incidents than New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston.

Specifically, the Vision Zero plan is going to focus on problematic areas such as Roosevelt Boulevard. In that area, the government will be implementing ‘The Route for Change.

In the plan, they discuss how they will improve several aspects of transportation in the area. Their goal is to improve the bus system, implement more effective pedestrian crossings, more consistent and reliable travel times, more efficient bicycle facilities, and more general economic improvements.

Moving Forward

Although the Vision Zero Action Plan is ambitious, it’s not far-fetched to think that the city can make significant improvements to the quality of life for Philadelphia residents. There are several cities to model the plan after, and residents should be patient with the progress.

In the meantime, if you or anyone that you know has experienced a personal injury through an automotive accident, call the law offices of Solnick & Associates today. Our experienced attorneys are happy to discuss your case to see what your next step forward should be.