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February 15, 2024
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New York City Streets are Safer and More Equitable After 10 Years Of Vision Zero

Eight of the 10 safest years on record have occurred during Vision Zero era

New York City has completed more than 1,200 safety projects since Vision Zero began in 2014

New York – New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and Vision Zero Task Force members today announced major progress made during the first 10 years of Vision Zero. As the first American city to undertake an ambitious Vision Zero safety program, New York City has created a model on which other cities, counties, and countries are building their plans.

Through a combination of engineering, education, and enforcement, the city has made its streets safer and more equitable for all New Yorkers.

Overall traffic deaths declined by more than 12 percent, with pedestrian deaths decreasing by 45 percent, when comparing data from 2023 and 2013, the year before Vision Zero's launch. Since the program's inception, the city has led 349 Vision Zero initiatives, 97 of which were spearheaded by NYC DOT. The agency has completed more than 1,200 safety projects and installed more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes. Reducing the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour and the implementation of 24-hour speed camera operations have dramatically reduced reckless driving.

Since the start of Vision Zero, New York City has embraced automated enforcement as an efficient, effective, and equitable solution to some of the most dangerous traffic offenses, like speeding and red light running.

Today, NYC DOT also released the first video in a series highlighting the successes of Vision Zero in improving traffic safety.

Vision Zero: Building a Safer City Part 1: Pedestrians video description: People walking, driving and biking in New York City. Charts showing reduced pedestrian fatalities in N.Y.C. Photos of safety improvements including leading pedestrian intervals, raised crosswalks, curb extensions, pedestrian safety islands, wider sidewalks, narrow vehicle lanes, and pedestrian plazas. Photos of D.O.T. Vision Zero outreach.

"Traffic safety is public safety, and pedestrians, cyclists, delivery workers, drivers, and everyone else using our roadways deserve safe streets," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "As we reach 10 years of Vision Zero in New York City, I want to commend DOT, and its partner agencies, for their unwavering commitment to the critical mission of protecting our fellow New Yorkers."

"Ten years of Vision Zero is a bittersweet milestone as we cannot accept even one death due to preventable traffic violence on our streets. But it is indisputable that New York City is a better and more equitable city for the existence of this program and the tireless work of all of our city agencies and advocates to make New York streets safer for everyone," said Meera Joshi, Deputy Mayor for Operations. "With this Administration's steadfast commitment to ensure all New Yorkers are safe on our streets, we will continue to drive down the tragic numbers attributable to traffic violence and buck the national trend. Thank you to Ydanis Rodriguez and everyone who keeps us working towards this crucial north star."

"Through Vision Zero, we've saved lives and made our streets safer for everyone," said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We're dedicated to ensuring all New Yorker's reap the benefits of these initiatives. That's why under the Adams Administration, we have expanded Vision Zero's commitment to equity. We prioritize underserved communities when locating projects and have completed more projects in these communities than anywhere else."

"Vision Zero is a proven example of city government successfully working together to save lives," said New York City Police Department Commissioner Edward A. Caban. "We know that roadway injuries and deaths are preventable, which is why eradicating the behavior that leads to them is at the core of the NYPD's traffic safety policies. This balanced, intelligence-led strategy of education coupled with enforcement will remain an integral part of our overall public safety mission for years to come."

"New York City's Vision Zero initiative has changed our city for the better," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "City agency partners have advanced hundreds of efforts over the past 10 years and New Yorkers are safer for it. I look forward to the Health Department's continuing participation in Vision Zero and to New York City's continued improvements in safety and health."

"At the 10-year mark of Vision Zero, there's zero doubt that our streets are the safest they've been in a hundred years," said New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. "Safer streets make our city more prosperous, enhancing and safeguarding the lives of millions of people each and every day. At DCAS, we are proud to do our part, and through the use of innovative technology, real-time fleet tracking, and a constant evaluation of our practices, we hope to make our streets even safer over the next 10 years."

"The ability to walk safely is a critical part of building an age-inclusive city, and Vision Zero has been an important initiative to help ensure New Yorkers can move around safely and maintain their independence as they age," said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. "Since Vision Zero was launched 10 years ago, there has been innovation to ensure the safety of older adults, such as the older adult community audit teams, that inform the Department of Transportation of their concerns and needs, and where additional traffic calming devices are needed. Also under Vision Zero, there have been an increase of No Standing Zones around older adult centers, making those blocks easier to walk on. I look forward to building on this progress to help residents get to and from their destinations safely."

"On this milestone anniversary, we are proud that TLC drivers continue to be the City's safest drivers per mile driven," said New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Do. "Our mission to improve driver, passenger, and pedestrian safety is never-ending. We are honored to be a Vision Zero agency that works alongside NYC DOT, NYPD, and advocacy groups to raise awareness and continually do outreach on how to drive safely. Safety is, and will continue to be, the core component of TLC driver-training and licensing."

"The Vision Zero statistics released today by the NYC DOT are good news for any New Yorker who has stepped into a crosswalk, ridden in a bike lane, or walked their child to school," said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix. "Communities in every corner of our city are safer because of the collaborative efforts of numerous agencies over the last decade to improve and implement the various components of this excellent citywide initiative."

"BIC's efforts to promote traffic and vehicle safety for the trade waste industry are vital to our larger regulatory and public safety mission," said Business Integrity Commission (BIC) Commissioner and Chair Elizabeth Crotty. "We remain committed to working with our agency partners towards the goal of Vision Zero, from enforcing safety rules on the street to ensuring compliance with key legislation like the side guard law and engaging in safety outreach and education, we have made important strides with more to come."

New York City's two million daily bus customers need faster and safer bus service, and over the past decade, Vision Zero has delivered real wins for buses," said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. "Under Vision Zero, the city has made real progress improving the safety of our streets and delivering bus priority projects that move buses faster and safer than before. Additional street enhancements Vision Zero has implemented like bus bulbs shorten pedestrian crossings and improve bus operations. I look forward to building on the successes of Vision Zero's first decade in the years ahead, especially though implementing additional bus priority corridors."

"Redesign of vehicles and trucks for safety is a critical complement to the redesign of roadways," said NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman. "DCAS has made changes to safeguard the front, sides, and back of vehicles and trucks, and to closely monitor fleet operations, every minute, every mile. We are challenging fleets everywhere to follow us in installing truck side-guards, telematics, intelligent speed assistance, barring hands-free phone use by drivers, and addressing visual obstruction with trucks. These improvements with the city fleet will continue as we maintain focus on eliminating vehicle crashes and injuries."

Eight of the 10 safest years on New York City streets have come during the Vision Zero era, during which New York City's work has saved countless lives and reduced traffic fatalities to the city's historic low. The city's Vision Zero partners achieved this through robust coordination between agencies across the administration and by implementing a "safe system" approach to transportation planning in coordination with agencies across the administration. This approach acknowledges all road users are humans; humans make mistakes — and those mistakes in a truly safe system do not need to lead to consequences like serious injury or death. Some significant achievements under this approach include a dramatic redesign of Queens Boulevard where initial treatments have reduced total crashes by 13 percent and curbed pedestrian injuries by 42 percent. Hundreds of New Yorkers are alive today because of this critical work.

Safety Data and Initiatives

Vision Zero agencies closely monitor where, when, and how traffic fatalities and injuries occur so as to best inform road safety efforts. NYC DOT's data-driven approach to protect vulnerable street users has resulted in an overall decrease in pedestrian deaths as well as decreases in deaths in neighborhoods with a high percentage of non-white residents.

To achieve this, the city has worked to leverage technology to better inform data collection and analysis. For example, the NYPD began to electronically record collisions in 2016, which lead to broader capabilities for traffic data analysis.

In addition, New York City's Health Department enhances traffic injury surveillance with public health data sources, incorporating health equity and person-based measures. These products include:

And since the launch of the Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan in 2017, more than 85,000 safety improvements have been made by NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to City fleet vehicles including adding Intelligent Speed Assistance technology to slow down City vehicles, the installation of truck side-guards to further protect pedestrians and bicyclists, and the installation of surround cameras to address visual obstructions. In 2014, DCAS instituted the first citywide system for tracking crashes and trends among City fleet vehicles – in the 10 years since, DCAS has recorded over 20 percent reductions in crashes and injuries through its efforts.

Equity in Vision Zero

Equity has long been a cornerstone of NYC DOT's implementation of Vision Zero. The agency is committed to ensuring its safety projects reach all New Yorkers, using data to prioritize interventions where they are most needed and can provide the greatest benefit. Through this commitment, safe street redesigns have been more concentrated in neighborhoods with high poverty rates, with these neighborhoods and neighborhoods of the highest non-white residents experiencing the greatest decreases in pedestrian fatalities over the course of Vision Zero. Preliminary NYC DOT data shows in neighborhoods with the highest percentages of non-white residents, overall traffic fatalities declined by more than 10 percent, while pedestrian fatalities dropped by roughly 20 percent.

By addressing areas with the greatest safety and transportation needs, the city has equitably picked locations for Street Improvement Projects (SIPs), which are safety-oriented engineering improvements that use multiple treatments like street redesigns, traffic signals, markings, or concrete on both corridors and intersections. These redesigns are generally aimed at better-organizing traffic, improving travel times, and creating shorter, safer pedestrian crossings, and safe routes for bicycle travel. Neighborhoods with high populations of non-white residents have received a higher share of street redesign miles than neighborhoods with the lowest populations of non-white residents, according to preliminary NYC DOT data.

NYC DOT has codified its commitment to equity through the development of a new equity formula to ensure all New Yorkers benefit from safe street redesigns. The formula identifies Priority Investment Areas (PIAs) based on demographics, density, and previous levels of NYC DOT investment. Since adopting this formula at the end of 2021, NYC DOT has implemented 137 Street Improvement Projects in the top PIAs and constructed a variety of safety treatments, including:

  • 22.1 miles of protected bike lanes, a lane protected by parking or some other physical barrier
  • More than 900,000 square feet of new pedestrian space in the form of pedestrian plazas, curb and sidewalk extensions, pedestrian safety islands, and medians.
  • 544 Leading Pedestrian Intervals were installed, providing a pedestrian crossing "head start" before vehicles receive the green light.
  • 55 intersections upgraded with Raised Crosswalks, which feature a marked pedestrian crosswalk constructed at a higher elevation than the adjacent roadway.
  • 101 intersections daylighted with visibility improvements.

During the rise in traffic fatalities during the coronavirus pandemic, Black and Latino road users were disproportionally impacted. Under the Adams administration there has been a decline in traffic fatalities among these populations, including a 36 percent decrease in fatalities involving Black victims since the start of the administration.

Overall, since the pandemic, the city has also experienced positive trends relating to severe injuries, with a nearly 21 percent decline citywide since 2019.

Education and Outreach

New York City has developed robust engagement strategies meant to educate members of the public including through a multi-agency approach involving street teams that focuses engagement on high-crash corridors to provide on-the-ground education to anyone who bikes, drives, or walks, with an emphasis on how their choices matter. Additional outreach efforts focus on providing education specifically for some of our most vulnerable road users, including, students, teachers, and older adults.

As the past 10 years have shown, Vision Zero can create real culture change in communities by focusing engagement on changing how New Yorkers' view traffic safety:

  • Since 2014, NYC DOT has made more than 5,700 visits to schools and held more than 1,450 workshops at older adult centers.
  • Vision Zero education sessions have been conducted with more than 158,330 licensed TLC drivers.
  • TLC conducted more than 700 Vision Zero outreach visits to the city's for-hire vehicle bases and taxi garages.
  • More than 52,580 MTA bus operators have been trained on Vision Zero ideas.
  • Through DCAS, 90,740 city drivers have taken defensive driving courses.
  • As part of the Vision Zero Task Force, BIC has also worked to promote education and training about safety through outreach to more than 1,000 trade waste company owners, fleet managers, and drivers.
  • Since the start of Vision Zero, over 10,000 participants have engaged in NYC DOT's large vehicle blind spot awareness programs, Truck's Eye View and the Truck Experience. NYC DOT continues to work with both private and public sector colleagues to innovate and expand this work.
  • NYC DOT launched a Truck Smart awareness campaign in 2022, resulting in the distribution of over 40,000 safety information resources to truck operators, as well as billboard, social media, and radio safety messages targeted to truck operators.


Since the start of Vision Zero, New York City has embraced automated enforcement as an efficient, effective, and equitable solution to some of the most dangerous traffic offenses, like speeding and red light running. Since Vision Zero began, NYC DOT has installed 2,217 speed cameras. After state legislation allowed for around-the-clock speed camera operations in 2022, speeding dropped an average of 30 percent after one year of expanded operations. In addition to the reduction in speeding, injuries also declined along corridors across the city.

BIC worked to enforce safety rules for the trade waste (commercial waste) hauling industry, conducting more than 10,000 truck stops since 2016 and issuing more than 2,500 safety violations since 2021. BIC has achieved a 92 percent compliance rate to-date with the trade waste industry side guard law.

NYPD also implemented a number of tactics aimed at reducing traffic crashes and fatalities. One of these initiatives increased police visibility at collision prone corridors, resulting in a 10 percent drop in collisions on these corridors during 2023. Additionally, NYPD began enforcing Right of Way Law in 2014, which created civil and criminal penalties for motorists who injure or kill pedestrians or cyclists by failing to yield the right of way and has helped reduce pedestrian fatalities.

Finally, TLC established Driver Fatigue Rules limiting the number of daily hours TLC drivers can operate and expanded enforcement to include Vision Zero-specific summonses, of which more than 220,000 have been issued since 2014.