Rep. Blumenauer Introduces Vision Zero Act to Curb Transportation Fatalities
October 23, 2019
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, today introduced the Vision Zero Act of 2019. Across the country, communities are recognizing the importance of bicycle safety and have a goal to reduce the number of bicycle deaths to zero. “Vision Zero” is the goal of eliminating all transportation-related fatalities, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and passengers. Cities across the country are implementing interagency Vision Zero Plans connecting engineering, education, and enforcement, to reach the goal of ending transportation deaths.
This legislation allows federal transportation funding to be made available for communities to design and implement Vision Zero programs.
In more than 40 urban, rural, and suburban communities across America, residents, activists, and elected officials have come together to adopt and implement Vision Zero plans. The goal of Vision Zero is the elimination of all transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists, and passengers. Vision Zero is an innovative, multifaceted approach to improve transportation safety across all transportation modes by using data, new partnerships, safe planning, and community-focused solutions toward zero traffic fatalities.
“We cannot accept the failure of rising traffic deaths, especially considering those deaths disproportionately impact low income and vulnerable communities,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “The Vision Zero Act will allow federal funding to aid in reducing preventable traffic fatalities that are devastating communities across the country. Everyone deserves access to safe, equitable transportation options.”
“The Vision Zero Act is a critical step in our fight to reduce the number of transportation-related fatalities across our country,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), lead co-sponsor of the legislation and co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus. “This bill affirms the right of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit riders to travel safely in community. I am proud to introduce the Vision Zero Act with Congressmen Blumenauer and Buchanan to ensure communities with Vision Zero plans like Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville in my district have the resources they need to eliminate tragic and preventable transportation deaths.”
"Thank you to Representatives Blumenauer, Buchanan, and Pressley and the entire Congressional Bike Caucus for introducing this legislation,” said Portland City Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “Portland is a proud early adopter of Vision Zero, but despite our best efforts we are struggling to keep up with worsening safety conditions on our roadways in one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The Vision Zero Act will promote and support innovation by local governments across the country. Most importantly, it will save lives.”
"The only acceptable goal for traffic deaths and serious injuries is zero,” said Jillian Detweller, Executive Director of The Street Trust, a Portland area bike advocacy group. “Traffic deaths and serious injuries are concentrated in low income communities, and every one of these tragedies impacts a broader community of family and friends. Communities that refuse to be complacent about crashes need support to plan and implement ways to make streets safer."
According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, more people have been killed on city streets so far this year than in all of last year. Likewise nationally, according statistics taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while overall traffic fatalities are down, a closer look at the numbers reveals that pedestrian fatalities are up 3.4% and cyclist fatalities are up 6.3%.
This legislation continues Congressman Blumenauer’s long-standing advocacy for equal access to different modes of transportation. In March, Congressman Blumenauer introduced the Bicycle Commuter Act, which would provide a pre-tax benefit for bicycle commuting, like that which is currently available to drivers and transit riders.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.