The total number of traffic fatalities in New York City in 2016 was at its lowest since 1910 when the city started to keep records on traffic accidents. Mayor de Blasio recently released a new report covering the third year of “Vision Zero”. According to the report, the first three-year period of Vision Zero is the safest period in New York City history. The report highlights the recent initiatives launched under the Vision Zero program in 2016. It also provides the most recent statistics on car accidents fatalities and injuries, bicycle accidents fatalities and injuries and pedestrian accident fatalities and injuries in 2016.
In the Vision Zero Borough Pedestrian Safety Action Plans published in 2015, the DOT defined specific strategies to improve the most dangerous intersections and high-crash corridors in each borough. Consisting of street redesigns, additional police enforcement, education and community engagement, the implementation of these action plans proved to be especially effective. Statistics showed that for the 5 years prior to Vision Zero there was an average 141 yearly traffic fatalities including 99 pedestrian fatalities at identified high-priority locations compared to 100 fatalities including 72 pedestrian deaths in 2016.
Various cross-agency studies have led to targeted safety campaigns. The most recent was an analysis of crash trends after sunset during the fall and the winter in New York City. The DOT and the NYPD who conducted the study together found that after sunset in the fall and the winter, there is an increase in 40% of pedestrians dying or being severely injured in car accidents. These findings led to an increase in evening and nighttime enforcement by NYPD officers and TLC inspectors. This increase in enforcement combined with a mix-media campaign consisting of flyers and messages on television and drive-time radio led to a decline of 30% of traffic fatalities during the initiative.
Street redesigns are also one of the corner-stones of the Vision Zero program. Over the last 3 years 242 Safety Engineering Projects have been completed by the DOT including 105 in 2016. Among these projects, the DOT installed 18.5 miles of Protected Bike Lanes, 776 Leading Pedestrian Intervals and 107 Left Turn Traffic Calming Treatments.
The NYPD continued to combat dangerous driving behavior such as speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks by issuing more summons than ever. 39 drivers were also arrested in 2016 after they violated the Right of Way Law and struck a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) all strengthened their drivers training last year. The TLC strengthened its rules to prevent taxi and limo drivers from driving excessive hours. The DCAS banned the use of cell phones, even with hand free sets for all city drivers. The MTA continued its pilot to study collision avoidance sensors and pedestrian alert technologies.
The Department of Education visited schools to teach street safety to children and Vision Zero ad campaigns continued to target all New Yorkers in 2016. According to the most recent study, 75% of New Yorkers are now expecting an increase in traffic enforcement and 82% say they are more likely to drive carefully and yield to pedestrians when turning at crosswalks.
The complete report can be downloaded here
A detailed look at NYPD collision data over the last three-years can also be found in one of our recent blogs.