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The United States is facing a growing crisis of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways that now results in over 40,000 preventable deaths per year. The crisis is especially acute for the most vulnerable road users, such as those walking or biking.
The Vision Zero movement emerged in Sweden in the 1990s in response to this growing traffic safety crisis. While its goal of achieving zero deaths and serious injuries has been adopted by dozens of communities across the United States, many still struggle with rising fatalities and disproportionate impacts on communities of color and pedestrians and cyclists.
But some communities are seeing progress towards achieving safety goals and centering equity in their approach. Jersey City, a densely populated, racially and ethnically diverse New Jersey municipality of nearly 300,000 residents, achieved zero traffic deaths and a significant reduction in serious injury crashes on streets under its jurisdiction in 2022 using mostly tactical, quick-build tools and a safe-system approach that engages multiple disciplines in instituting change.
This PAS Memo provides actionable and practical guidance based on an in-depth case study of Jersey City. It shares how Jersey City has been able to develop a Vision Zero Action Plan, leverage tactical interventions to create systematic change within city government, and coordinate with regional and state entities to achieve greater levels of success. Planners will learn how to apply these principles in their own communities, starting small and building momentum towards making streets safe for all.
About the Authors
Elias Guseman, AICP
Michael Manzella, AICP
Lyndsey Scofield, AICP