merging mobility and civility

Extemporaneous Postulation

Vision Zero Success

At the behest of the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina), and with funding from the World Bank, we undertook a survey in 2014 of Vision Zero-like initiatives in global cities. Buenos Aires has made great strides in remaking their streets in the last decade, and sought to push further.


The survey began with a selection of cities with good (or improving) traffic safety records that could be compared to Buenos Aires. BA is large (about three million inhabitants in the city proper), European in physical structure (similar to Paris and Barcelona), and has a western political and legal system. The cities did not need an explicit “vision zero” policy or program to be considered, only that their overall traffic safety record was good or improving. Comparing fatality records is an inexact science due different reporting methods, data collection, and other variations; at best, these statistics should be considered approximations. These are not the only cities that could or should have been considered; however, they represent a healthy cross-section of safe and similar cities from around the globe. The eleven selected cities are presented below.

Following the selection of cities, their safety initiatives were researched via their websites, published material, and personal knowledge. Researchers searched for programs and policies that could be tied to traffic safety such as physical changes to the streets, policies that could be tied to specific outcomes, both manual and automated enforcement efforts, outreach campaigns, and marketing material. As the initiatives were identified, similar ones were grouped together, even though they may not have been exactly the same. To exemplify, there are a number of nuances to red light camera programs and traffic calming takes various shapes and forms. The list of sources can be found in the appendix.

Eleven larger global cities with good or improving safety records,

Eleven larger global cities with good or improving safety records,

Sources for 11 cities



  • meta&meta_B_orsand=%22Melbourne%22&clive=tac-fatalities-xml.



  • Newman, P and J Kenworthy (1999), Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence, Island Press, Washington DC.


  • All eleven cities have some sort of traffic calming program. They physically alter streets through speed humps, mini-roundabouts, curb extensions and the like.

  • Eighty percent of the cities (9 of 11) have:

    • Bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes, protected bike lanes, cycletracks, bicycle priority traffic signals

    • In-vehicle alcohol, collision avoidance & event recorders (black boxes)

    • In-vehicle speed detection
      Outreach through schools, similar to fire prevention and recycling efforts

    • Red light cameras

    • Slow zones - specific locations where speed limits are reduced such as school zones, adjacent to parks, along arterials with poor safety records, near vulnerable populations such as senior centers, and in residential areas

    • Speed cameras

  • Sixty percent of the cities (7 of 11) have:

    • Fixed or variable message warning signage

    • Pedestrian priority crossing signals such as pedestrian countdown, leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), or High-intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) signals

    • Traffic safety marketing campaigns

The initiatives can be grouped by who or what they target. Various programs and policies often focus on the same outcome, but how they approach it is different. By looking at the focus area we can further distill importance.

  • One-third (4 of 11) deal with motor vehicle speed. This includes traffic calming, speed cameras, in-vehicle speed detection, and slow zones. It is not surprising given that speed is the foremost consideration in traffic safety.

  • One-third (4 of 11) specifically address vulnerable road users. This includes pedestrian signals, bicycle infrastructure, slow zones, and traffic calming. Many of the benefits expected with Vision Zero extend to vulnerable populations.

  • One-fourth (3 of 11) involve automatic enforcement. This includes speed and red light cameras, and in- vehicle speed detection. Note that this type of enforcement is normalized and consistent.

  • One-fifth (2 of 11) focus on driver inattention. This includes warning signs and in-vehicle collision avoidance.

  • One-fifth (2 of 11) utilize marketing and outreach. This includes traffic safety marketing campaigns and outreach through schools.


This survey has found that cities with good and getting better traffic safety records focus on speeds, vulnerable road users, and driver inattention; normalize enforcement; and outreach via known channels like schools. They do this with physical changes to the roadway such as traffic calming and bicycle facilities. Their initiatives are preventative and prescriptive, targeting specific actions at particular times and locations. There is a recognition that improved traffic safety will be reached through sustained and consistent efforts.


Barcelona 289c1fca3310VgnVCM10000074fea8c0RCRD&lang=es_ES 0641b867b210VgnVCM10000074fea8c0RCRD&vgnextfmt=formatDetall&lang=es_ES __Adoption_of_the_alcohol_interlock_and_its_effects_in_professional_transport.pdf






Madrid Madrid?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=1b5abbc29b9ac310VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=d11c9ad016e07010VgnVCM100000dc0ca8c0RCRD&idCapitulo=61916 04 __Adoption_of_the_alcohol_interlock_and_its_effects_in_professional_transport.pdf


New York City


" vulnerables/rub_8697_dossier_55410_port_20649_sheet_11365 __Adoption_of_the_alcohol_interlock_and_its_effects_in_professional_transport.pdf

Stockholm 2020.pdf __Adoption_of_the_alcohol_interlock_and_its_effects_in_professional_transport.pdf --cyklister-och-mopedister-/

thanks to Will Sherman, who did most of the research.

Michael King