Next Phase of ‘Vision Zero’ Announced

Pedestrian sign
Pedestrian sign | Image by Vision Zero Network

Dallas has announced the next phase of its “Vision Zero” road safety initiative following a lack of progress in recent months.

Vision Zero is a worldwide approach to reduce traffic-related fatalities. Enacted by the Dallas City Council in 2019, the strategy promotes a mission of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and reaching a 50% reduction in severe injuries from crashes by 2030.

The strategy is based on the belief that no loss of life is acceptable and that all traffic fatalities and severe injuries are preventable.

In an April 3 Dallas City Council briefing, Transportation Director Ghassan Khankarli addressed concerns regarding the lack of progress and laid out future goals in a 67-slide presentation.

While some council members applauded Khankarli for his detailed report, many called for additional measures for Vision Zero to progress, as reported by The Dallas Express.

“I see the biggest reason for crashes is speed,” said Council Member Paula Blackmon (District 9), citing data showing speed-related factors were the top contributing cause for crashes between 2015 and 2023. Blackmon suggested implementing a city-wide campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of fast driving.

Council Member Gay Donnell Willis (District 13) called for a heavier law enforcement presence to enforce speed laws. “We need to see you out there writing tickets,” she said.

“There’s an epidemic of red light running,” said Council Member Paul Ridley (District 14). “There’s a widespread perception that there’s no traffic enforcement anymore.”

Implementing the next phase of Vision Zero comes as a response to the city council’s suggestions. The next phase expands community engagement, increases the City’s public education campaign, and continues developing programs focused on traffic safety from a crash data-driven perspective, according to an April 4 press release. The phase lays out six key features to ensure the Vision Zero strategy stays on track to reach its goal of safer streets.

The new phase will involve collaborative efforts with local communities to raise awareness about the importance of traffic safety through outreach events and partnerships with schools and businesses.

In addition, a bilingual educational campaign will be launched on the City’s communication sites, billboards, and throughout Dallas to target behaviors like speeding, distracted driving, and seatbelt safety.

Research conducted by the Department of Transportation for Vision Zero identified a High Injury Network (HIN) that showed 7% of the city’s streets were responsible for 57% of severe crashes in Dallas. The next phase of the plan will send law enforcement to HIN locations to target aggressive and dangerous driving behaviors.

Implementing advanced technologies, such as AI, will be explored to enhance safety measures further. At Wednesday’s briefing, Khankarli expressed the desire for AI assistance, explaining that the technology could provide researchers with information and habits leading to crashes in specific locations.

The City plans to continue analyzing traffic data and spending on infrastructure improvements such as crosswalks and traffic signals to create a safer environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

According to the Vision Zero dashboard, 7,527 crashes have occurred in Dallas throughout 2024 as of April 8. Of those crashes, 53 were fatal, and 186 caused severe injury.

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