Houston Tomorrow recently published a report called Vision Zero: Toward a Vision Zero Action Plan for the City of Houston. This report outlines their recommendations for eliminating traffic-related deaths and injuries across all modes of transit – motorists, cyclist, and pedestrians.
This comprehensive report is well-worth a read, and outlines how we can reduce the 13-County Houston traffic deaths from 667 per year to zero per year over the next decade. This number doesn't even include the several thousand of incapacitating injuries, or the even higher number of total crashes – most of which are completely preventable. Many cities worldwide and across the nation have Vision Zero reports, including other "car" cities such as Los Angeles. With the recent hit-and-run pedestrian death at Taft and Westheimer, this is something that affects all neighborhoods of Houston, including ours.
The report dives into initiatives that are already working hard for Houston such as Complete Streets, and also outlines several concrete ideas for how we can reduce traffic deaths and make streets safer. The over-arching strategies include the below four points, but again, there are many tactical methods of implementation outlined in the plan as well:
- Proper metrics of safety and usage, which accurately identify problem areas and track progress toward program goals.
- Education and enforcement of existing policies and laws.
- Introducing new policies and laws and enhancing existing ones to make conditions safer.
- Re-examining the underlying built environment and taking steps to reconstruct it to meet the safety needs of all users.
Please take 15 minutes to read the report as it's certainly a conversation worth having and plugging into.
– by Caroline Garry, with thanks to Kay Warhol for providing the tip!