About the city's Vision Zero goal
Vision Zero is the community's goal to reduce the number of severe crashes (fatalities and serious injuries) to zero. At its core, this goal is inspired by the belief that traffic collisions are preventable, and even one fatality is too many.
Boulder has joined cities across the country and the world that are working toward this goal. Reaching it requires safe street design, enforcement, strong community partnerships— and you.
Vision Zero was adopted in 2014 as part of the city's Transportation Master Plan and uses a data-driven approach to increasing the safety of Boulder's streets. Safety has always been a top priority of the city. By tracking the places where collisions and close calls occur most often — and the behaviors and situations that lead to them — staff can make targeted improvements to street design, enforcement and outreach efforts in places where they are needed the most.
Vision Zero employs both a location-specific and a systemwide approach that is targeted, reactive and proactive through a transformative set of actions that prioritize travel safety for everyone.
How Do We Reach Our Goal?
A lot of factors go into making Boulder's streets safer, from smart roadway engineering to enforcing existing laws. The city has released a Vision Zero Action Plan to make progress toward the community's goal.
We also depend, every second of every day, on individuals making good choices. A lot of the time, they do. But we know from data on crashes and close calls that certain behaviors and situations are more likely to lead to collisions. Using the following guidelines, you can help reach our goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries.
- Stay sober, no matter whether you're driving, cycling or walking. Know your limit, know the law.
- Avoid distractions. That text can wait.
- Watch out for motorcycles . They're harder to see. Bikers, help others see you by driving predictably and following the speed limit.
- Stop at intersections. When driving, look both ways at intersections and path crossings. Yield to pedestrians and cyclists every time.
- Flashing yellow arrows do NOT mean oncoming traffic will stop. Yield to oncoming traffic and make left turns safely.
- Stay cool in right-turn lanes and avoid rear-ending. If you're behind another car in the right-turn lane, wait to hit the gas until the car in front of you starts moving. A break in traffic doesn't mean the car in front of you will move.
Avoid distractions. Be mindful. Look out for one another.
Engineering for Safer Streets
Since the adoption of Vision Zero, city staff has implemented various specific safety strategies throughout the community.
The city's 2023-2027 Vision Zero Action Plan will prioritize projects to reactively and proactively address transportation safety throughout the city.
To help move the community toward Vision Zero, the city secures federal funding for significant capital projects whenever possible. These projects are identified through the city's Safe Streets Report and Vision Zero Action Plan. Grants include the federal Highway Safety Improvement Project (HSIP), Transportation Improvement Project (TIP) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER).
Vision Zero Community Partnership
The Vision Zero Community Partnership Committee fosters ongoing implementation of Boulder's safety strategies in collaboration with the broader Boulder community. The committee includes representation from the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) as well as local, regional and state-wide agency partners. Its objective is to provide input regarding the Safe Streets Boulder action plan and co-developing and disseminating Vision Zero safety education and awareness messaging for the greater Boulder Valley community.
20 Is Plenty Evaluation
The city has also completed an evaluation of the 20 Is Plenty program. The program was started in summer 2020 and lowered the default speed limit in the city and on local, residential streets to 20 mph.
The evaluation found that enacting 20 Is Plenty did not reduce vehicle speeds in a statistically significant way. This is line with the findings of peer cities that implemented similar programs. However, it did demonstrate that street design has a larger impact on speeds and supports the city's approach to focusing crash mitigation efforts on arterial streets, where our most severe crashes are happening.
Note on data sources: Vehicular traffic counts were derived from nine continuous count stations distributed across the city. Data on traffic crashes comes from the City of Boulder’s Transportation & Mobility Department database, which is derived from the Boulder Police Department’s Record Management System. The system uses officer-reported crash data, which is collected when a police officer completes a Colorado State Traffic Accident Report form.