London’s doing it. And now it’s New York’s moment to systemically address traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
Pedestrian fatalities have dropped by over 75% in London since the late 1980s, and this is because of stronger laws. Transport for London estimates that cameras at high-crash locations and other precautions prevent 500 deaths or serious injuries each year.
Approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes. Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors. On average, vehicles seriously injure or kill a New Yorker every two hours. Vision Zero is NYC’s plan for ending these trends and saving lives. The proposed city actions involve multiple city agencies – you can see a summary here.
You may have heard of the Vision Zero action plan in recent press:
- NY Daily News, “De Blasio Aims for Zero Traffic Deaths with Plan to Halt Pedestrian Killings”
- NY Daily News, “‘Vision Zero’ Traffic Plan Promises to Cut Down on Deaths with New Laws, More Speed Enforcement Equipment, Bigger Penalties”
- New York Times, “Seeking Details on Plan to End Traffic Fatalities”
- New York Times, “De Blasio Outlines Steps to Eliminate Traffic Deaths”
- CBS Local, “City Council Committees Hear De Blasio’s Traffic Safety Plan”
- Wall Street Journal, “NYC mayor: I won’t second-guess my NYPD driver”
Creative approaches are being applied to measure Vision Zero’s progress across the city. The Data News Team at WNYC released Mean Streets, a project chronicling fatal traffic crashes and their causes in 2014. Gothamist covers a new scoreboard that tracks De Blasio’s progress against the Vision Zero Action Plan with a real-time tally of deaths. The #VisionZero hashtag, reaching over 1.3 million last week on Twitter, collects news throughout City government and updates the public on its progress on the plan. Vision Zero New York is currently using Twitter as a live feed of traffic incidents unfolding here.
We got inspired by the DOT’s street campaigns and DoITT’s interactive crime map to put this issue at the center of our half-day hackathon. In four hours, we hand-coded an interactive prototype that illustrates how common behaviors directly affect your likelihood for being in an accident. A simple intuitive interface using custom PHP and HMTL 5 leads you through a simple survey and generates a result by pulling NYPD data from a flat file. The texture in the background, color palette, and iconography evokes road safety signage and experience, while deliberately simple design keeps the focus on the data.
So, what behavior can you change today to help NYC achieve Vision Zero? Take the survey to find out. This rapid prototype is the beginning of an idea: we want your feedback on what would be more useful and what you would like to see. Tell us how you’re using the plethora of NYC transportation public data in compelling ways. Shout out to us on Twitter @bureaublank.