What's more important: letting cars move quickly, or keeping everyone (inside and outside cars) safe? Is risk of death or injury the price we have to pay for mobility? As health promoters, we see injury prevention (as well as pollution and healthy neighbourhoods) as a key component of healthy communities, and road safety as surely something worthy of serious design efforts that mitigate danger. The international Vision Zero movement agrees.
"No loss of life is acceptable. In every situation a person might fail -- the road system should not. This is the core principle of the Vision Zero concept." -- http://www.visionzeroinitiative.com/
In essence, Vision Zero works to design transportation systems that compensate for human error. Whatever mistake you might make as an imperfect and distractable human, the systems around you should protect you. It's an approach that puts much more emphasis on design and much less on the behaviour of the system's users. When health promoters talk about lifestyle issues we often say "make the healthy choice the easy choice" -- it's easy to see how Vision Zero is doing exactly that.
On November 29, HC Link Coordinator Andrea Bodkin and I are excited to be covering the Vision Zero Summit on social media. Organized by Parachute, the Summit will look at how Vision Zero is being implemented in Canada, drawing on examples from Canada and beyond. Watch for our tweets and blog posts!
As Edmonton, which was the first Canadian city to officially adopt Vision Zero, says:
"Why should you get behind Vision Zero?
We all want our loved ones to get home safely."
HC Link’s blog series on Vision Zero
Vision Zero (Sweden)
Summit hashtag: #VZSummit