In 2014, 667 people died on the streets in the Houston region, 227 of them in the City of Houston. We expect to find that there were more deaths than this in 2015.
It’s time for the City of Houston to join its large peer cities in making a Vision Zero Commitment to end preventable traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on our streets. Our per capita death rate makes us the 4th most dangerous city for road violence in the country, and by adopting a Vision Zero approach, we can take important steps to save peoples’ lives.
Mayor Parker and the previous council made significant progress toward this end in beginning a Complete Streets approach, making significant progress at Metro, getting a Safe Passing Law passed, advancing the Bayou Greenways project, and more. However, we have a long way to go to get to where our local policies and investments are optimized to provide safe neighborhoods and streets for all Houstonians.
Will 2016 be the year that road violence on the streets of Houston begins to go down? Will our local elected officials act?
On Thursday, January 14, 2016, at My Houston 2040, we released our report: Vision Zero: Toward a Vision Zero Action Plan for the City of Houston (pdf)
The core steps toward a Vision Zero Plan:
• The City of Houston should lead the regional effort to adopt a Vision Zero goal to reach zero traffic deaths and serious injuries within a decade.
• The City should create a Vision Zero Task Force with multiple departments and outside partners.
• The Vision Zero Task Force should produce an initial Vision Zero Action Plan within 60 or 90 days.
• Mayor and City Council should aggressively pursue ordinance and funding changes this year.
• Various City Departments should identify and pursue short and long term strategies.
Adopting a Vision Zero Action Plan is the next logical step for our local governments.The Houston region’s traffic deaths are a crisis, roughly equal to the number of murders in the City of Houston (239 in 2014), but with a gigantic devastating health and financial cost for the many more Houstonians who survive and have to deal with the aftermath.
Vision Zero is about making the streets safe for all of us: whether riding in a car or driving a commercial vehicle, riding a bike, walking, riding transit, skateboarding, or just hanging out in your neighborhood.
Let’s embrace Vision Zero and lead the Houston region in the movement to end traffic-related deaths and injuries.
This report was made possible through the support of the individual members of the Houston Tomorrow Department of Transportation. Join HTDOT today to support our continued efforts for meaningful transportation options and policies.
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