Advisory Board Recommends Goal of Zero Traffic Deaths

Mar 28, 2014

Credit Vision Zero Initiative

  Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board recommends the city adopt an approach to traffic safety modeled after Vision Zero.

The traffic safety concept began in Sweden in 1997. Its goal is achieving zero fatalities through a combination of infrastructure improvements, vehicle technology, education and traffic monitoring.

TAB member Stephen Lassiter acknowledged that’s a lot to do.

"So it takes some time, so if we can, in the meantime, just enforce the laws we have, enforce the speeds, we can reduce the risks that we're seeing that people are experiencing out on the streets," Lassiter said.

Washington, D.C., adopted the approach and saw traffic deaths drop from 72 in 2001 to 19 in 2012. The city’s biggest change was installing more cameras at intersections.

Not every city councilor is completely on board, however.

The nearly 20-year-old initiative is gaining traction in the U.S. Cities are aiming to cut traffic deaths with ideas like red light cameras, more visible crosswalks and buffers between roads and sidewalks.

Reducing speeds is also a major tenet, and not one Councilor Phil Lakin favors.

"I'm for a lot of things — some of them cheap, some of them more expensive — that will preserve life," Lakin said. "I'm not a huge advocate of unnecessarily reducing speed limits throughout the city."

Councilor Skip Steele shared Lakin’s concern. The council hasn’t taken action on the recommendation.