Vision Zero: Designing Streets to Save Lives

A Swedish design proposal to eliminate traffic fatalities is picking up steam around the world.

View of Gotgatan street in Stockholm. Photo via Holger.Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons

The language we use influences how we think about the world around us. For example, in my first years of transportation advocacy I learned to use the word “crash” to describe vehicular collisions. I, like many Americans, had always used the word “accident,” a term which unwittingly affirms that vehicle collisions are unavoidable, unpreventable, and a fact of life. However, while most crashes are unintentional, they are not always unpreventable. The key to prevention is accepting that humans will definitely make mistakes and then designing the built environment accordingly.

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