As we've previously mentioned in our blog, traffic accidents in New York City are fairly common and every year thousands of people suffer debilitating injuries and lose their lives in accidents caused by distracted, speeding, and aggressive drivers. In an attempt to drastically reduce the number of traffic accidents and the resulting injuries and deaths, in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced New York City's Vision Zero plan.
The approach behind Vision Zero is more holistic in nature and focuses on not only adding often much-needed crosswalks or traffic lights to certain busy intersections, but also the redesign of such busy streets and intersections. Additionally, under Vision Zero, the city's police force has ramped up enforcement efforts to identify drivers who are violating traffic laws and putting the lives of other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in jeopardy.
While there have been many vocal opponents of Vision Zero, it's hard to refute hard data and the numbers indicate that the plan is actually working. In fact, the plan's apparent strides towards success are likely the result of its heavy reliance on statistical data in helping shape the city’s priorities and focus.
Like most major metropolitan cities throughout the U.S. and Europe, technology has improved the ease and methods by which cities are able to track where and why traffic accidents occur. Armed with this data, city politicians, administrators, and planners are better able to focus their efforts on redesigning those streets and intersections that have been identified as statistically dangerous. What's more, such information is accessible via the Internet as are current and planned projects and initiatives under Vision Zero which has ultimately helped bolster support for the plan.
Additionally, statistics from the New York City Police Department show that, from 2013 to 2015, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of speeding tickets issued throughout the city. Additionally, tickets issued for other dangerous traffic violations including failure to yield and texting while driving increased 223 percent and 285 percent, proving that city officials are serious about cracking down on these hazardous driving behaviors.