New York City saw its safest year on record in 2017 in terms of traffic fatalities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.
The city launched its Vision Zero initiative in 2014 with the goal of eliminating traffic and pedestrian deaths, and on Friday released a report reviewing the first four years of that effort.
Since adopting Vision Zero (the first American city to do so, according to the city), New York City has seen a 28 percent drop in traffic fatalities and a 45 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities. Nationally, those statistics have increased 15 percent over the same time period.
“Vision Zero is working. We have lowered the speed limit, increased enforcement and created safer street designs, efforts that build on each other to help keep New Yorkers safe,” de Blasio said in a statement.
Last year was the fourth straight year of fatality declines, but it’s still only the start, the mayor said.
“The report we are releasing today shows the promising results so far, but also illustrates how far we must go to deepen this work,” he added. “Not even a single tragedy on our streets is acceptable, and we’ll keep fighting every day to protect New Yorkers.”
To make the city’s streets safer, the department of transportation has completed 114 street improvement projects to date, including changes to traffic signals, street geography, signs that delegate turning and parking, installing speed bumps and more.
The city has also been building out its bicycle network, and in 2017 added more than 77 bike lane miles throughout the five boroughs.
NYPD is focusing on those who disregard traffic safety to try to change resident behaviors. In 2017, NYPD officers issued more than 680,000 Vision Zero summons to people who violated traffic laws, from speeding to failing to yield to a pedestrian to texting while driving. These infractions were identified by officials as “the primary causes of collisions with the most catastrophic results.”
In Vision Zero’s fifth year, the city plans to improve street safety where senior citizens live, create a working group to come up with a Vision Zero-based driver education program for residents under 25 and update Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plan maps with new data.