Vision Zero: Principles and checklist for effective adoption

Author(s): Craig Milligan, Rebecca Peterniak

Slidedeck Presentation - not available


Vision Zero is an approach to road safety characterized by aggressive casualty reduction goals, coordinated and interdisciplinary action, increased priority and resources allocated towards road safety improvement, and a specific ethical policy framework. Vision Zero was launched by Sweden in 1997 and gradually spread to other countries and states. For example, New York City is in the midst of a high-profile, highly funded adoption of Vision Zero, and Minnesota has a toward zero deaths program that in 2013 drew 900 participants to its annual conference. Despite the fact that almost every road safety professional knows about Vision Zero, adoption of the approach has been almost non-existent in Canada. The objective of the paper is to examine the principles for effective adoption of Vision Zero. It documents the kind of funding, partnerships, policy statements, and public engagement required to mobilize Vision Zero adoption, common challenges encountered, and some of the early initiatives that can be implemented in a Vision Zero program. The paper is based on an environmental scan with four leading transport agencies in the United States that have adopted Vision Zero.  The paper documents a set of principles an agency can refer to in considering Vision Zero adoption, and a checklist that an agency can use to start putting in place the necessary partnerships, resources, and support.  Some oppose extreme implementations of vision zero based on utilitarian principles but the paper shows that all implementations considered were more balanced and focused on cost-effective data-driven treatments.