Safety Matters: Two Connecticut Municipalities Are Working Towards Vision Zero

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Two Connecticut Municipalities Are Working Towards Vision Zero

Vision Zero has long been discussed in the transportation world, having been first implemented by Sweden in the 1990s. It centers around the idea of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways while increasing safety and mobility for all users. Although Europe has embraced Vision Zero for decades, it wasn’t until 2012 that a US city made the commitment. Since then however, the idea that we can have a transportation network free from fatal and serious injury crashes has swept the nation.

Here in Connecticut, the General Assembly created a Vision Zero Council in 2021 to develop a policy and begin the work of eliminating fatalities and serious injury crashes on CT roadways. This is an important mission, as 2022 saw the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in our state in 34 years (75) and a total of 385 fatalities on our roadways. Many of these crashes occur on local roads, including over 50% of the pedestrian fatal crashes. In an effort to address this, two municipalities have taken the lead in adopting Vision Zero for their communities.

The City of Stamford was the first municipality in Connecticut to implement a Vision Zero Program, establishing theirs with an executive order from Mayor Simmons in September 2022. According to Frank Petise, the City’s Transportation Bureau Chief, “The Vision Zero executive order builds on our past successes and directs us to maximize safety for all users of the roadway. We strive to ensure people feel safe using all modes of our roadway network in Stamford and Vision Zero is a commitment from us to the people to accomplish our goal. Since launching the initiative, we have created a task force, issued an RFP for a Vision Zero Action Plan, and launched our Vision Zero webpage which includes an interactive crash dashboard.” Stamford’s goal is to eliminate fatalities from their streets by 2032 and information about their program can be found here.

In January of this year, the Town of West Hartford joined Stamford in the Vision Zero effort when the Town Council adopted a Vision Zero Initiative. West Hartford has also put together a Task Force of both staff and resident members and launched their new webpage which you can find here.

Every step we take towards eliminating transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries is a positive one. Every user of our transportation network deserves to make it to their destination safely. Congratulations to the City of Stamford and the Town of West Hartford for recognizing this and embracing Vision Zero!

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, including how to start a Vision Zero Program, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

Resources:

Vision Zero Network, https://visionzeronetwork.org/

CT DOT Vision Zero Council, What Is The Vision Zero Council (ct.gov)

About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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