VisionZero is a Swedish concept of road safety that has a very simple principle at its core: “no loss of life is acceptable”. Our society is far too ready to accept death and serious injury as a price worth paying for the convenience of motorised transport. Over a million people a year are killed on the world’s roads: the counter at the bottom of this page shows this year’s tragic running total. With a VisionZero approach, safety and mobility are not mutually exclusive: it recognises that we should be able to move freely – and feel safe at the same time.
Conventional transport systems are designed to maximse capacity and mobility, not safety. Road users are made aware of the risks inherent in the system and are held responsible for ensuring their own safety. At the same time, humans are fallible: mistakes, misjudgments and distractions can never be entirely ruled out. So instead of placing the safety onus on us error-prone humans, VisionZero aspires to a road infrastructure design that minimises both the risk of serious incidents as well as the impact of such incidents when they occur. In short: safety is designed into the road network and not left in the hands of its users.
Vision Zero is based on four principles:
1) Ethics: Human life and health are paramount and take priority over mobility and other objectives of the road traffic system;
2) Responsibility: providers and regulators of the road traffic system share responsibility with users;
3) Safety: road traffic systems should take account of human fallibility and minimize both the opportunities for errors and the harm done when they occur; and
4) Mechanisms for change: providers and regulators must do their utmost to guarantee the safety of all citizens; they must cooperate with road users; and all three must be ready to change to achieve safety.
We believe that Greater Manchester’s road network should be designed around people, not vehicles. A VisionZero approach to road design and road safety could transform Greater Manchester into a safer, cleaner, healthier and more livable region, benefitting everyone no matter how they prefer to move around. We therefore call on the responsible authorities to adopt a VisionZero approach to transport planning without delay.
This page is under ongoing development. Please check back for updates.