Portland's Vision Zero Commitment
No person should die or be incapacitated in the everyday act of moving about. But each year dozens of Portlanders lose their lives doing just that.
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 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. We describe commitments from this report below.
Strategic Commitments to Achieve the Vision
Strategy: Protect Pedestrians
Out of 34 traffic deaths in 2018, 16 were people walking. This reflects a continuing trend: during the past five years, on average 39% of traffic deaths have been pedestrians.
What the data tells us about pedestrian crashes:
- 71% of all pedestrian crashes occur at intersections, with 44% at signalized intersections.
- 20% of pedestrian crashes result from left-turning drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk at signalized intersections.
- 25% of all pedestrian crashes occur mid-block, due in part to long distances between marked crossings.
- 49% of all pedestrian crashes occur in low-light conditions
Many actions to make walking safer are set out in PedPDX, Portland’s pedestrian plan. PedPDX prioritizes sidewalk and crossing improvements to make walking safer and more comfortable across the city.
|Change signal timing and operations to make it safer to cross the street|
|Improve visibility at pedestrian crossings by removing parking and overgrown vegetation|
|Prioritize street lighting investment where the High Crash Network, pedestrian districts, low-income populations and communities of color overlap|
|Fill crossing gaps to reduce mid-block crashes|
|Protect people from heavy truck injuries by installing side guards and other safety measures on City-owned and City-contracted trucks|
Strategy: Reduce Speeds Citywide
Slower speeds reduce the number and severity of crashes. Slower moving drivers can stop more quickly to avoid a crash—and when a collision does occur, lower speeds reduce the chance of injury or death.
Following international best practices, Portland is lowering speeds where people walking, bicycling and driving mix. Slower speeds help prevent death or serious injury when mistakes happen and crashes occur. Where there is separate and protected space for people walking and bicycling, speeds can be somewhat higher.
Lowering speeds requires a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach. Specific strategies include:
- Set safe speed limits
- Redesign dangerous streets to encourage safe speeds
- Educate Portlanders about the impact of speed
- Enforce the speed limit
Each of these is a cornerstone of Portland’s work to prevent fatal crashes.
|Set safe speed limits|
|Redesign dangerous streets to encourage safe speeds|
|Educate Portlanders about the impact of speed|
|Enforce the speed limit|
Strategy: Design Streets to Protect Human Lives
A “safe systems” approach means designing streets to protect people even when they make mistakes. Street improvements that slow traffic and provide separation between modes give visual cues that people in cars, trucks, on bikes, and pedestrians are expected to share the streets. These environmental cues lead people to make safer choices.
Transforming Portland's Most Dangerous Streets
In the last two years, 65% of Portland’s traffic deaths occurred on 8% of Portland streets. Many of these wide, fast streets need transformative changes that only major projects can provide. These projects can often take years to fund, design and build—but PBOT is doubling down on them, delivering the corridor-wide projects that are the backbone of Vision Zero actions.
|Transform wide, fast streets into streets that are safer for all modes|
In 2019, deliver corridor-wide safety projects on the following High Crash Network streets:
In 2020, deliver corridor-wide safety projects on the following High Crash Network streets:
In 2021, complete concept design plans for all High Crash Network streets
|Pilot rapid-response installations to slow left turns and prevent pedestrian crashes|
|Evaluate deadly crash sites to identify rapid response opportunities|
Strategy: Create a Culture of Shared Responsibility
Education and outreach are critical to achieving safe streets in Portland. In a safe system City-led infrastructure and enforcement complement programs that engage people in making their streets safer. The responsibility for safe streets is shared between transportation system designers/operators and users of the system.
As we lower speeds and deliver safety projects, PBOT’s engagement and education programs will raise awareness about dangerous behavior and help shape community expectations around speed and other crash factors.
Over the next three years, actions to create a culture of shared responsibility will include:
- Offering neighborhood-specific and culturally-specific traffic safety education in a range of different languages
- Re-running the citywide Struck education campaign along with localized programs reinforcing the message that unsafe driving impacts many lives
- Starting every PBOT Budget Advisory Committee meeting by reading the name of every person who has died in a traffic crash that year to emphasize the importance of investing in safety
- Using PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program to remind parents that safe driving around schools is critical for student and neighborhood well-being
These actions are woven into the fabric of PBOT’s safety and community engagement work. Other specific commitments are listed below.
|Mark the locations of tragic deadly crashes and raise public awareness of the importance of driving safely|
|Deploy community-based Street Teams to share safe travel tips and engage with people on Portland’s High Crash Network streets|
|Improve driver stopping compliance for pedestrians at crosswalks|