An interactive map displays hundreds of municipalities around the world that achieved zero traffic … [+]
In more than 1,200 towns and cities around the world, not a single person was killed in a road traffic crash in at least one calendar year since 2009. Some municipalities reported zero traffic deaths for multiple years.
All the towns and cities are identified in a newly updated interactive map — a visualization of global road safety — that displays the data for some 3,000 cities and towns with more than 50,000 residents from 26 countries.
“These successes should motivate us in our commitment to road safety,” Stan Zurkiewicz, a board member and chief operating officer of DEKRA, a company based in Germany that conducts automotive testing, inspection and crash research, said in a statement. DEKRA released the latest version of its Vision Zero Map to correspond with U.N. (United Nations) Global Road Safety Week in May, 2021.
“Others can learn from the successful towns and cities,” Zurkiewicz said.
DEKRA initially collected data for the map in 2014 while working on its annual Road Safety Report; it has since been updated regularly. Filters allow users to analyze data by year, country, or size of town or city.
The largest city on the “Zero Fatality” list is Gothenburg, Sweden, with more than 500,000 inhabitants. Municipalities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Australia and Japan also have achieved the target of zero traffic deaths caused by road crashes.
Some towns and cities have maintained zero traffic deaths for multiple years. For example, more than 150 achieved the goal in six or more years since 2009, like Kerpen (Germany, ten years), Lake Forest (California, USA, ten years), and Siero (Spain, eleven years).
(An earlier Forbes article, “Kids In Germany Redesign Road To Save Lives,” features safety contributions by local school children in Kerpen, Germany.)
Achieving zero traffic deaths is the aim of the Vision Zero or Safe System approach to roadway design, first put into effect in Sweden in the 1990s and based largely on the understanding that humans are human and make mistakes. Vision Zero has been widely has been widely acknowledged and implemented in recent years for its success toward eliminating road deaths and serious injuries.
A sampling of other cities and towns that attained zero deaths for a one year period, include:
In Europe: Espoo (Finland), Stavanger (Norway), Aachen (Germany), Schaarbeek (Belgium), Le Havre (France), Salzburg (Austria), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Vigo (Spain).
Outside of Europe: Oxnard (California, USA), Red Deer (Alberta, Canada), Buenavista (Mexico), Cerro Navia (Chile), Suzuka (Japan), and Campbeltown (New South Wales, Australia).
“The evidence from towns and cities without traffic deaths has shown that multiple stakeholders are responsible for this success,” Zurkiewicz added. “Decades of work are now bearing fruit – the work of many parties in traffic planning, vehicle development, politics and administration, emergency services, road safety volunteer organizations, media, vehicle inspection organizations, and many more.”
The German safety group said that while the map is a reflection of progress for global road safety, “overall, we are still a relatively long way away from realizing” widespread Vision Zero. The initiative “highlights the need to step up efforts to learn from successful towns and cities, to further improve road safety and get ever closer to achieving the vision.”
Zurkiewicz said significantly more people die in road traffic crashes in smaller communities than in big cities, so “road safety work must not only be concentrated in cities; if anything, it should be stepped up in towns and villages.”
Click here and here for more information and to access the interactive map.
Tanya Mohn covers road safety and consumer travel issues for Forbes. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, and has reported for the BBC, NBC News, ABC
Tanya Mohn covers road safety and consumer travel issues for Forbes. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times, and has reported for the BBC, NBC News, ABC News, PBS, HBO and CNBC. She recently received an International Center for Journalists’ World Health Organization Safety Reporting Fellowship, and an award for her road safety reporting from the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT). Follow her on Twitter @tanya_mohn.