Vision Zero + Safe Routes to School = Stronger Together

Last year the City of Eugene officially adopted Vision Zero as a policy and like many communities around the country they are now in the initial stages of creating a plan on how best to implement this policy that states that “no loss of life or serious injury on Eugene’s transportation system is acceptable.”  A new Task Force and Technical Advisory Committee is being formed and this Fall Eugene’s “acting in capacity” Traffic Engineer, Matt Rodriguez, will be travelling to Sweden and Denmark to study their transportation safety goals and projects. We’re excited to be part of the partnership that will help bring this vision to reality in our community. This article, which can be read in full here, is by Kari Schlosshauer, the Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager for Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and gives a good overview of the connection between Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School:Vizion Zero Long2

Vision Zero shares many goals with Safe Routes to School. Vision Zero originated from Sweden in 1997 with the assertion that all traffic deaths and severe injuries are preventable. Sweden’s Vision Zero work was based on an old philosophy with a new twist: “it should no longer be the child that should adapt to traffic conditions, but the traffic conditions that should be adapted – as far as possible – to children.”


As the number of small and large towns and cities pursuing Vision Zero policy grows, it becomes clear that Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School are stronger together. The Oregon Safe Routes to School Conference held in June in Eugene, provided insights from Seattle, Portland & Eugene on how Safe Routes to School and Vision Zero efforts are working in tandem to boost successes.

  • Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School both use data to guide implementation
  • Safe Routes to School and Vision Zero are both “partner-based”
  • Safe Routes to School projects increase safety for everyone at all times of day, therefore are essential to Vision Zero’s goals
  • Vision Zero tackles unsafe streets that have become barriers to kids walking and rolling, therefore are essential to Safe Routes to School’s success
  • Safe Routes to School can expand programming through Vision Zero, to reach middle and high school students with traffic safety education

Vision Zero is a broad-spectrum, targeted campaign that has the ability to dramatically improve the health and safety of all transportation users. The connections and overlap with Safe Routes to School efforts are significant, and the two efforts should be complementary in communities, as children are among the most vulnerable transportation users, particularly in disadvantaged communities. It is imperative that both Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School be implemented in ways that ensure that everyone can travel safely through their community.
Read Kari’s full article here.


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