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Vision Zero - Safe Streets Boulder

Vision Zero - Safe Streets Boulder

Significance

Safety has always been a top priority of the city and the community. Traffic collisions that result in serious injuries and fatalities exact a tragic toll on the community, resulting in personal loss and suffering and deep neighborhood impacts. Collisions are also costly, resulting in emergency response and health care costs, including mental health and emotional care. In addition, collisions often lead to a sense that our streets are unsafe, preventing some people from biking and walking and lessening the freedom of mobility.

Vision Zero, which is an international movement started in Sweden in the 1990s, calls on the entire community to help prevent crashes that result in serious injuries and fatalities by staying vigilant and not being distracted or impaired while driving, biking and walking. The Boulder community's goal for Vision Zero is to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to zero. Vision Zero also recognizes the critical importance of engineering enhancements to reduce crashes and of enforcement to keep the community safe.

Vision Zero focuses on serious injuries and fatalities because we recognize that people make mistakes. However, through roadway engineering, policies, education and enforcement, the transportation system can be built to lessen the severity of crashes that do happen.

In support of Vision Zero, the city uses a data-driven approach to determine where crashes are occurring, who is at risk and what approaches should be used—education, engineering and enforcement—in order to increase the safety of all users of the transportation system. To learn more, visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/vision-zero.

Definitions

Vision Zero:  The goal to eliminate traffic collisions that result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Collision: Any impact between two or more vehicles, between a vehicle and a pedestrian or between a vehicle and a stationary object or animal. Officer reported collision data is collected when a police officer completes a Colorado State Traffic Accident Report form. Since Vision Zero includes the belief that traffic collisions are preventable, cities that adopt Vision Zero are moving away from the term "traffic accident."

Serious injury: An injury that is evidently incapacitating. Such injuries may include severe lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries or any injury that requires transportation to a hospital for treatment.

Goals and Trends

Vision Zero is the Boulder community's goal to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to zero. On average, overall crashes have been increasing since 2009, with the number of fatal and serious injury crashes fluctuating year to year but on average remaining fairly steady at about 2 percent of all crashes.

The 2016 Safe Streets Report identifies a number of trends that have led to targeted engineering improvements, enforcement and education efforts. For example, 46 percent of all crashes occurred at intersections, and well over half of collisions involving a cyclist or a pedestrian occurred in crosswalks between 2009 and 2016. To make crosswalks and intersections safer, the city has provided green striping, raised crosswalks and signal changes. The city also started the Heads Up Campaign, which uses a combination of education and increased enforcement at key intersections and crosswalks to alert the public of the need for increased vigilance in these areas.

As another example, the Safe Streets Report found that cyclists, pedestrians and impaired people are all overrepresented in serious injury and fatal crashes. In other words, while these travelers make a up a relatively small percentage of all crashes, they make up a higher percentage of serious injury and fatality crashes. In response, the city has developed an education and outreach campaign to remind travelers of the importance of remaining sober and aware while using the transportation system.

The most recent Safe Streets Report can be viewed at www.bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/safe-streets-boulder.

Data Sources

Collision data is obtained from the City of Boulder’s Police Department traffic accident records database. Officer reported collision data is collected when a police officer completes a Colorado State Traffic Accident Report form.

Data disclaimer: Staff in the Public Works - Transportation Division are currently in the process of "cleaning" crash data to ensure its accuracy. In late 2017, Transportation staff discovered that they were not receiving all crash reports from the Police Department (PD) from 2009 through 2017. Transportation is currently working with PD to reconcile past years' crash data. The percentage of "missing" crash reports is very small but may impact the data presented in the dashboard. The crash data shown is the best data the Transportation Division has at the time of publishing.

About the Data:  These data are provided by the City of Boulder's Public Works - Transportation Division in collaboration with the Boulder Police Department. This page will be updated annually.