Vision Zero is the Austin community's goal to reduce people hurt or killed by crashes to zero with street improvements, policy changes and education. Austin Transportation works to achieve that goal through planning and building a safe multi-modal transportation network in collaboration with City and community partners.
- What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is a holistic strategy to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all. It was first adopted in Sweden in the 1990s and has led to major reductions of traffic deaths and serious injuries in many cities that have implemented its policies. Communities that adopt Vision Zero believe that most traffic deaths and injuries are a preventable public health issue, not a result of unavoidable accidents.
Austin is consistently ranked as one of America's best places to live, but too many of our fellow Austinites die in traffic crashes each year. On average, an Austinite is killed in a crash every five days, and someone is seriously injured in a crash every 20 hours. Everyone we lose is someone's loved one, and each of these deaths and injuries is preventable.
Austin’s City Council adopted Vision Zero as a part of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan in October 2015. Austin's Vision Zero program is a member of the Vision Zero Network, which is a growing coalition of U.S. cities committed to eliminating all traffic fatalities.
Through a combination of safer street design, targeted law enforcement, evidence-based public policy, thoughtful public engagement, and participation from our community, we can ensure Austin's streets are safe for everyone. The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan includes key actions, indicators, and targets intended to shape future Vision Zero initiatives.
- Data and Tools
A data-driven approach informs Vision Zero efforts. Using crash data compiled from Austin Police Department Reports, TxDOT’s Crash Records Information System (CRIS) and other sources, the Vision Zero team has developed a High-Injury Network (HIN) which identifies streets in Austin with a relatively high number of serious injury and fatal crashes. The HIN is used to identify locations where engineering, education, or enforcement interventions should be prioritized to have the most impact in improving safety at high crash locations. Austin’s HIN includes just 8% of the city’s street network but contains nearly 70% of all serious injury or fatal crashes for all modes (2013-2017).
More recent analysis applies a comprehensive cost value to all people involved in crashes, and this has informed the focus on particular segments of the HIN, as well as prioritizing deeper analysis on the top locations throughout Austin.
The Vision Zero Viewer is an interactive dashboard and map for the public to view fatal and serious injury crash data and trends. Austin Transportation uses this data to identify problematic locations and develop solutions to help eliminate serious injuries and deaths from traffic crashes and make progress towards Austin's Vision Zero goal. In addition to where and when severe crashes occur, the viewer shows the different transportation modes and demographic groups impacted by crashes, and provides data that is current, cumulative, and accessible for all.
Capital Metro, CAMPO, CTRMA, and TxDOT in addition to internal City of Austin departments like Austin Police Department, Austin Municipal Court, Austin Public Health, Public Works and others are key Austin-area mobility partners that coordinate together on projects that achieve Vision Zero goals. Vision Zero is a safe systems-based approach and it takes changes made in multiple areas to make meaningful progress and create a culture of safety. Over the past year, the Vision Zero team worked to coordinate the following initiatives.
- In partnership with the Austin Police Department (APD) and Austin Municipal Court, recipients of failure to yield citations who caused crashes with injuries must now appear in court and face higher fines rather than being allowed to pay a fine without a prosecutor’s involvement.
- In partnership with the City’s Mobility Management Center, leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) were installed in downtown Austin. LPIs provide pedestrians a head start to begin crossing an intersection before drivers receive a green light.
- In partnership with Parking Enforcement, dedicated parking enforcement officers are assigned to ticket and tow vehicles illegally parked in designated bike-only lanes, reducing potential traffic conflicts by decreasing the likelihood people biking will have to veer into general-purpose travel lanes.
- In partnership with APD, No Refusal DWI enforcement was expanded to cover most weekends, holidays, and special events. During No Refusal, Austin Police Department detectives apply for blood search warrants in cases where a driver under arrest for driving while impaired refuses to provide a voluntary sample of breath or blood.
- In partnership with TxDOT, new barriers were installed on top of existing medians along hot spots on IH-35 to deter pedestrians attempting to cross the multiple high-speed lanes of freeway traffic.
- Plans and Reports
- The 2021 Vision Zero Update details progress made in 2019-2020 and efforts moving forward in 2021
- The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan - Chapter 1: Prioritizing our Safety, Chapter 7: Implementing our Plan (Action Tables)
- The 2018 Pedestrian Safety Action Plan provides a comprehensive strategy for addressing pedestrian safety.
- The 2016-2018 Vision Zero Action Plan outlines our ambitious strategy toward achieving our goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries.
- Vision Zero Analytics is a series of reports providing a data-driven analysis of ongoing initiatives. You can find reports on High-Injury Roadways, Leading Pedestrian Intervals and Opposite Direction-Left Turning Vehicle crashes here.