The New York Police Department estimates that 176 New York City pedestrians were killed in traffic collisions in 2013. Mayor Bill de Blasio aims to make that number zero. While his Vision Zero plan has been in the works since his mayoral campaign, de Blasio recently unveiled concrete steps that the city will take to reduce fatal crashes. The 63 recommendations can be broken down into three specific areas: enforcement, education, and engineering.

“This entire plan involves a number of physical and material measures,” said de Blasio, “but it’s about much more than speed bumps and the issuing of violations. It’s also about all of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel, and every time we step out on the street. Our lives are literally in each other’s hands.”

Enforcement

There are a number of efforts in the plan that will increase enforcement of traffic safety laws. The New York Police Department will increase precinct-level enforcement of speeding. In addition, the plan calls for expanded use of red-light and speed safety cameras that issue violations – measures that would require approval from the state legislature in Albany. The proposed plan also emphasizes increased enforcement of violations that have a tragic impact on pedestrians, infringements like failure to yield, illegal turns or cell-phone distracted driving.

Drivers of all types will see new levels of enforcement. The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) plans to form an enforcement team that will focus on the dangerous driving behaviors of cab drivers. In addition, TLC will begin a pilot program to install data recorders in taxis and limousines to monitor for violations and even pause the meter if the driver exceeds the speed limit.

Engineering

Many of the initiatives in the Vision Zero plan involve re-engineering city streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure to calm traffic and increase safety, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. Some of the recommendations include adding 25 speed bumps across the city, installing new crosswalks and street lighting to illuminate intersections, and adding pedestrian islands. Mayor de Blasio has also committed to clarifying roadbed instructions and re-designating lanes to clarify who belongs in each one.

While implementation of most of these plans can begin immediately, the city speed limit is dictated by the state legislature. Vision Zero’s steps include lowering the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour – a move that will require political maneuvers in Albany.

Education

The education efforts of Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious plan aim to teach both students and current drivers the rules of the road. Neighborhood Street Teams will raise visibility at priority intersections, spreading information about road safety to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. In addition, city officials from the Department of Transportation will target vulnerable populations – middle school students and senior citizens – to encourage safer pedestrian practices.

For more information on Vision Zero, visit the campaign website.

 

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

Collision Rates Improving Among Older Drivers
A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds that today’s drivers ages 70 and older are less likely to be involved in traffic collisions than previous generations. People in this age group are also less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash. IIHS attributes this improvement to safer vehicles and healthier seniors. The marked shift began taking hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that growing ranks of aging drivers as baby boomers head into their retirement years aren’t making U.S. roads deadlier.
Source: The Associated Press

Iowa City’s Red-Light Safety Cameras Reducing Collisions
In 2001, Davenport’s intersections were named among the top tem worst crash intersections in the state of Iowa. Since red-light safety cameras became operational in 2006, crashes at the troubled intersections have dropped 75%. A recent study by the Iowa Department of Transportation found that the most dangerous intersection from the 2001 analysis (at Brady and Kimberly Streets) dropped from #1 to #76 as of 2012 thanks to cameras installed there.
Source: WHBF

States Adjusting to Driving Stagnation Trends
New data from the Federal Highway Administration has found that the cumulative distance that Americans drive is down. Total driving by all Americans has fallen about 2 percent since 2007 — or 7 percent per capita — and is lower than it was in 2005. State Smart Transportation Initiative says that some states, like Maryland, Illinois, and Washington, are beginning to adjust their traffic projections accordingly.
Source: Streetsblog USA

New Jersey Investigation Finds Drivers Ignoring School Bus Stop Arms
The CBS affiliate investigated drivers who run through school bus stop arms in the Philadelphia area. The stations cameras caught more than a dozen violators breaking the law while riding a Gloucester Township school bus undercover. Despite the frequency of these violations, Gloucester Township Police Department officials say it is rare that police are assigned to monitor school bus stops and there are not enough resources to do so regularly. According to a survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, bus drivers across the U.S. reported more 85,000 vehicles illegally passed stopped school buses in a single day.
Source: CBS Philadelphia

New Report: Montana Infrastructure Failing, Traffic Fatalities Third Worst in Country
A new report from national transportation research group TRIP finds that Montana roads and bridges are deteriorating and the state’s traffic fatality rate is the third highest in the nation. The study also indicates that an increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could improve the conditions of roads and bridges. Traffic crashes in Montana have resulted in the loss of 1,053 lives between 2008 and 2012, for an average of 211 fatalities per year. Only West Virginia and South Carolina had higher traffic fatality rates than Montana. Each had 1.76 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 2012.
Source: Helena Independent Record

                                                           

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street weekly video series aims to raise awareness about the dangers of red-light running by highlighting crashes and close calls in intersections caused by reckless red-light runners. The videos are also available on Twitter @SaferRoadsUSA and YouTube youtube.com/SaferRoadsUSA.

Take the pledge to Stop on Red

Intersection located in Florissant, MO.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.

The Safety Street Q&A series features NCSR partners, industry leaders and other notable transportation organizations who are working towards the collaborative goal of safer roads. 

Founded in 2002, Bike Pittsburgh is a charitable non-profit that works on behalf of the Pittsburgh community to make the city safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Eric Boerer has been a safety advocate nearly a decade. He started with Bike Pittsburgh part time in 2005 and is now its full time Advocacy Director. Safety Street had the chance to ask Eric about his views on the value of red-light safety cameras for cyclists in Pittsburgh and across the country.

Safety Street: What is the biggest challenge that cyclists face on the road?

Eric Boerer: The biggest challenge is aggressive driving. It’s something that I feel has changed dramatically over the years as more cyclists appear on the road. Thankfully, drivers have been improving in recent years, but it only takes one aggressive driver to ruin someone’s day or ruin someone’s life. Aggressive driving is probably the thing that scares Bike Pittsburgh members the most.

Safety Street: What’s the number one thing you hope drivers will keep in mind?

Eric Boerer: What Bike Pittsburgh is really trying to do with its driver education programs is humanize cyclists. Bikers are just normal folks trying to get somewhere. We could be your cousin, your doctor, your teacher. We’re not out there trying to annoy anybody, we’re just trying to get where we’re going.

Safety Street: The Pittsburgh City Council just approved a rule allowing red-light safety cameras in the city of Pittsburgh. What do you hope will be the outcome?

Eric Boerer: For one, we hope the outcome is that people actually stop at red lights. The cameras work, according to our research. Overall safety will be improved once people start obeying the law. On a broader level, it raises awareness of traffic safety in general.

Safety Street: Bike Pittsburgh has been an outspoken supporter of red-light safety camera technology. Why do you feel red-light safety cameras are so critical to cyclists?

Eric Boerer:  It’s about safety. Any tool that helps police enforce safety on our streets is good for cyclists and really good for everyone who uses the roads. Once people think there’s a chance they could be penalized for doing something illegal, they’re far less likely to do it.

Safety Street: In Pennsylvania, fines paid by red-light runners will go in part to funding safety projects for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Are there are strong cycling safety projects on your radar?

Eric Boerer: We’re working on bike lanes throughout the city in many different neighborhoods. Last summer, we released the Better Bikeways vision, which outlines that system. They’re bike lanes that encourage physical separation between cars and bikes. We’re trying to step up the level of bike lane beyond just a stripe on the road, whether that is in the form of painted lanes or in some cases concrete. Some additional funding for safety improvements could make current lanes safer, too.

Safety Street: Which neighborhoods in the city do you think are best for cycling? What are they doing right?

Eric Boerer: Last spring, the city painted intersections on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield at the Bloomfield Bridge. Where cars need to cross bike lanes in order to turn, the city painted the lanes bright green, which helps raise awareness to the driver that there could be a cyclist in the lane.

The East End plateau has some of the best areas for cycling, because it has the best access to parks and the most bike infrastructure in place on the roads now. It helps that it’s one of the flattest areas of the city. The city has responded to that success by adding more bike lanes.

Safety Street: In your opinion, which neighborhoods in Pittsburgh are the next big thing for cycling?

Eric Boerer: We want to focus on Oakland and downtown Pittsburgh next. In August of this year, Pittsburgh will be launching its first bike share. That means there will be a lot of new people riding bikes in those areas.

Oakland has the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, meaning more than 40,000 students attend class within one or two square miles. Thousands of students ride bikes already or would ride them if the streets felt safer. Given how congested that area can be, and how much foot traffic it gets, it seems like a no brainer to make it as safe as possible for bikes.

 

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior. 

The Safety Street weekly news roundup brings together a mix of road safety and transportation stories from around the web. It is published every week on Safety Street and is available on Twitter via @SaferRoadsUSA.

National Safety Council: Traffic Fatalities Decreased in 2013
The number of fatal vehicle accidents in the U.S. declined by 3 percent from 2012, the National Safety Council said Wednesday in its preliminary estimate of roadway deaths in 2013. The council estimated there were about 35,200 fatalities in 2013. The nonprofit safety group also estimated that crashes requiring medical attention fell 2 percent from 2012, to a total of 3.8 million. In addition, it estimated the cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage in 2013 at $267.5 billion, a 3 percent decrease from 2012.
Source: The Washington Post

New York County Pushes for School Zone Speed Safety Cameras
The county executive in Suffolk, New York has asked state legislators for the power to install speed safety cameras to catch speeders in school zones. County Executive Steve Bellone cited speed safety camera program successes in communities across the country in reducing collisions and saving lives. The county is seeking authority to put the new cameras at sites within a quarter-mile of schools, where speed limits range from 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Source: USA Today

New York City Pedestrian Safety Advocates Use Valentine’s Day to Raise Awareness
Road safety advocates from New York City-based Right of Way handed out valentines encouraging drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to share the road at the intersection of Broadway and 96th Street last week. Three people have died at or near that intersection so far this year. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to release an interagency report this week highlighting steps the city can take to reduce traffic fatalities.
Source: Transportation Nation

California City’s Red-Light Safety Camera Program Reducing Collisions
Santa Clarita city officials say the red-light safety camera program has had a marked effect on roadway safety. Santa Clarita’s red-light safety cameras have been in place since 2004, and in that time data has shown a decline in traffic collisions at monitored intersections. The number of dangerous right angle collisions at monitored intersections has fallen by 61 percent. The average number of yearly injury collisions dropped about eight percent, while total yearly collisions dropped roughly 18 percent at those intersections.
Source: The Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Oregon Three Flags Initiative Heightens Traffic Enforcement for February
The Oregon-wide Three Flags traffic safety campaign is a state-wide selective traffic enforcement program which seeks to reduce the number of motor vehicle related deaths and injuries by increasing public awareness about the three most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crash injuries: failure to use or improper use of safety restraints, speeding, and impaired drivers. Beginning February 10th, the Three Flags campaign provided federal funding for overtime which allowed officers statewide to join together for a two-week period of intensive, high-visibility enforcement.
Source: Lane Today

                                                           

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) helps save lives and protect communities by demonstrating how red-light safety cameras can improve driver behavior.