The Journey to Zero
The AMATS Policy Committee committed the Greater Akron area to the national Vision Zero initiative during its Aug. 11 meeting. If the goals of Vision Zero become a reality, traffic deaths and severe injuries may one day become a memory.
Vision Zero is a road traffic safety program promoted by the U.S. Department of Transportation that aims to achieve the ambitious goal of zero road traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries across the nation. In its approval of Resolution 2022-16, the AMATS Policy Committee also promised to increase safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all over the next 28 years.
David Pulay, the AMATS Transportation Improvement Program coordinator, explains that the agency’s Vision Zero concept will establish realistic timelines to ensure safety for all people as they move about their communities. The agency’s Vision Zero goal within the Greater Akron area is to reduce the number of crashes resulting in fatalities and severe injuries on a consistent basis until reaching a goal of no area roadway deaths by 2050.
“Previous approaches to transportation planning were largely based on the assumption that most road users are responsible for their own safety. While users will continue to bear a significant amount of responsibility for their actions, Vision Zero recognizes that responsibility and safety are shared by transportation system designers as well as road users,” Pulay observes.
How will the agency reach the goal of zero fatalities? Vision Zero advocates argue that collisions resulting in death and severe injury are not inevitable, but can be prevented through changes in behavior, technology, and traffic designs that accommodate multimodal transportation uses.
Pulay says that one of AMATS’ strengths in its Vision Zero approach is that the agency has a strong record of prioritizing and compiling crash studies for all transportation modes. He adds that, in recent years, the agency and the area have made demonstrable progress in improving motor vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist safety by making systemic changes in how the area’s transportation network is planned, built, and operated. That progress will continue with the adoption of the Vision Zero resolution, according to Pulay.
The resolution’s passage is the first step necessary for AMATS to begin developing a regional Safety Action Plan as required by the federal grant program, Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A). AMATS will establish a task force of its membership to guide development of the area’s Safety Action Plan, which the agency and its committee members will follow as they pursue AMATS’ Vision Zero goals.