Portland's Vision Zero commitment
No person should die or be incapacitated from simply going about their day. Protecting human lives is core to Vision Zero, the goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Portland streets.
In 2015, Portland made a commitment to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets. The 2016 Vision Zero Action Plan mapped out actions to make that commitment a reality. Portland's Vision Zero 2-Year Update (2019) report describes lessons learned during Portland’s first two years as a Vision Zero city and sets the stage for the next phase of work. Our latest update, Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25, reflects the progress we’ve made and the challenges we’ve faced in the seven years since city council adopted the Vision Zero Action Plan in 2016, and sets the course for our work through 2025.
Actions and performance measures
Slow people driving to reduce injuries
Slowing down people driving reduces crashes and their severity. People who drive slower can stop more quickly to avoid a crash. Driving more slowly also reduces the chance of injury or death when crashes occur.
Set safe speed limits
1. Update speed limits to reflect new state guidelines.
2. Make school zones safer. Evaluate all school zones and flashing warning lights, update our guidelines, install new school zones, and lower speed limits around them.
Redesign dangerous streets to encourage safe speeds
3. Develop a strategy around street design and speed. Build a toolbox for street design that considers how to slow people driving on busy streets and residential streets.
4. Change signal timing. Where feasible, retime signals on the High Crash Network to slow vehicles down.
Enforce the speed limit
5. Install more cameras for automatic speed enforcement in crash hotspots. Overcome challenges in procuring and installing cameras.
6. Analyze speeding citations. Better understand how speeding affects different ZIP codes.
Design and maintain streets to protect people
Designing a safe transportation system means building streets to protect people even when they make mistakes. Core to this work is slowing down people driving and protecting pedestrians and others outside these vehicles.
Improve street lighting on wide streets in high-equity areas
Maximize signal operations for safety
8.Launch “no turn on red” pilot. Reduce the risk of turning crashes that are particularly dangerous for pedestrians and people bicycling.
9. Launch “rest on red” pilot. At night, at some intersections with a history of speed-related crashes, display red lights in all directions to require drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection. Technology at the intersection will detect the vehicle and give a green light.
10. Adopt a policy to ensure we make intersections safer whenever signals are rebuilt on the High Crash Network. Determine where and when we are rebuilding signals or adding rapid-flashing beacons to crosswalks. Develop standard operating procedures on where and when to install roundabouts. Write policy that considers and prioritizes all manner of intersection safety measures when we rebuild signals: roundabouts, shortening pedestrian crossings, reducing conflicts from turning, and/or slowing drivers down.
Transform wide, fast streets
11. Break ground on multiple major projects along the High Crash Network each year.
12. Engage community members on key safety projects. Projects will be on streets in the High Crash Network and in areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix.
13. Analyze deficiencies in the High Crash Network using a Safe System approach. Use analysis to prioritize corridor planning, project development, and funding.
14. Partner with PBOT’s pedestrian program to advance pedestrian safety projects identified in PedPDX. Priority projects are on streets in the High Crash Network, in areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix, in pedestrian districts, and near schools.
15. Upgrade temporary materials (such as rubber curbs and flexible posts) to permanent materials (such as concrete) at priority safety project locations.
16. Integrate the Safe System approach into PBOT’s internal decisions and processes. Use the High Crash Network as one input to prioritize projects, maintenance, and paving. Integrate safe speeds and protection for pedestrians and people bicycling into project work and the Complete Streets checklist.
Respond quickly to critical safety needs
17. Install low-cost treatments along street segments with a high concentration of crashes. Build recommendations from PBOT’s 2023 High Crash Network priority segment analysis.
18. Evaluate spots where fatal crashes occur, identify safety improvements, and install improvements where we can. Multidisciplinary team meets monthly to evaluate locations.
19. Add low-cost safety elements to existing projects on the High Crash Network. Leverage existing project development process to achieve added safety gains.
Measure street design performance
20. Develop project evaluation guide to support consistent PBOT safety evaluations of corridor projects on streets in the High Crash Network.
21. Evaluate all significant corridor projects on streets in the High Crash Network. Define roles and responsibilities for project development and delivery.
Foster a culture of shared responsibility for each other’s safety
We all have responsibility for the safety of ourselves and others as we travel on Portland streets. These actions center on education, raising public awareness, and engaging with culturally specific communities about traffic safety.
Advance safety and sense of belonging for culturally specific communities
23. Collaborate with culturally specific groups. Share safety resources, and provide ongoing education and engagement.
24. Engage with groups who are over-represented as victims of traffic violence. Share safety resources, and provide ongoing education and engagement.
|Number of community events attended, and resources shared, with impacted communities
Educate Portlanders about making safe travel choices
25. Host events and raise awareness on traffic safety. Conduct proactive outreach on the Safe System approach. Prioritize events around the High Crash Network and in places that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix.
26. Place a variable message sign at the site of deadly crashes. Raise awareness and encourage safe driving behavior where traffic violence occurs.
27. Integrate Safe System approach into traffic safety education materials for elementary-, middle-, and high-schoolers.
Focus enforcement on safety and education outcomes
28. Partner with the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division on focused enforcement. Ensure that enforcement focuses on the High Crash Network and the behaviors that contribute to deadly and serious injury crashes. This also means deemphasis of non-moving and minor infractions.
29. Partner with the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division on training. Ensure training for new police recruits includes data about traffic safety, how to process DUII offenses, and city and state protocol and laws around making traffic stops. These training elements should focus on advancing safety and equity outcomes.
Curb impaired driving
30. Support legislation to lower Oregon’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from 0.08% to 0.05%.
Make vehicles safer for people inside and outside of the vehicles
Improving traffic safety through vehicle technology and regulation is a relatively untapped opportunity in the United States. For example, the European Union requires that all new vehicles have automatic braking to prevent possible collisions, speed limiters to prevent vehicles from exceeding the speed limit, and back-up cameras. These features are only available in some cars sold in the U.S. While city governments can demonstrate technology using their own fleets (and require safety features in contracted fleets), federal policy is required for systemic change.
31. Advocate for stronger national regulations. Write and lobby in support of requiring vehicle manufacturers to add safety features that address safety overall, and pedestrian and bike safety in particular.
32. Partner with City Fleet team on ways to increase traffic safety. Explore emerging technology and demonstrate effectiveness.
Provide quick medical response and quality treatment
The fifth pillar of a Safe System approach, “post-crash care,” is about timely emergency response and quality treatment. Quick response to the crash scene and good medical care increases the chance that a traffic crash victim will survive. This pillar is a particular focus of rural areas with greater distances from hospitals and emergency services. PBOT coordinates with Portland Fire & Rescue to ensure projects do not negatively impact emergency response. Multnomah County leads the effort to improve emergency response times.
Share progress on Vision Zero work
PBOT updates the public on our Vision Zero work annually—what work we’ve done, and what areas need more attention. PBOT remains committed to safety, and this kind of reporting helps keep us accountable.
33. Redesign and update Vision Zero online reporting.
34. Produce annual summary of PBOT’s Vision Zero work.
35. Produce annual report on deadly crashes.