Metro released a new video this morning that reveals why a different approach to traffic safety is so important.
Our regionally-elected planning organization is updating their Regional Transportation Safety Action Plan as part of their work on the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan. This morning a committee of elected leaders and policymakers gave Metro staff the go-ahead to move forward in setting a Vision Zero policy that reads: “By 2035 eliminate transportation related fatalities and serious injuries for all users of the region’s transportation system, with a 16% reduction by 2020 (as compared to the 2015 five year rolling average), and a 50% reduction by 2025.”
(The wonks among you will note that the 2014 RTP called for a fatal and serious crash reduction of 50 percent by 2030. The new timeline will put Metro’s policy in sync with the State of Oregon’s target adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission last year via ODOT’s Transportation Safety Action Plan.)
Policy is one thing; but without smart communications and marketing it doesn’t matter nearly as much. And that’s where Metro’s new video comes in. It starts as a standard, boring, government agency PSA. I almost tuned it out, but I’m glad I watched it all the way through. Metro asks people in the video (watch it below the jump) three simple questions.
First they ask, “How many people do you think are killed or severely injured in traffic crashes in the Portland metro area each year?” Answers range from 25-30 to 1,000 (the most common answer), to “Oh gosh, a lot!”. (The actual answer is 586.)
The next question is, “What do you think is a good goal [of crash reduction] for the region?” People give a variety of responses. One man says it should be cut 15 percent. Others throw out a number of deaths and injuries they think we should tolerate: “Less than 800,” “Under 500,” “Maybe about 300,” “Maybe 100.” And another person says, “The best goal would be zero; but realistically, cut it in half?”
And then the final question: “What should the goal be for your family?”
And guess what? Every single person gave the same answer: Zero.
This is such a simple, yet brilliantly revealing video. It shows that the idea of zero deaths and injuries on our roads isn’t merely a wingnut request by radical activists or pie-in-the-sky goal by another interest group. Safe roads where people don’t die is what everyone — even people who don’t work with or care about transportation policy — want for the people they love most.
The feelings people in this video share about their family is the way I feel about everyone who uses the roads. And it’s the way the good activists and community leaders I know feel too. Why should anyone have the right to pick and choose who’s going to get hurt or killed in traffic crashes? When our elected leaders build projects and pass policies, they should think their own family members. After all, traffic violence is indiscriminate.
What do you think of the video?
(And stay tuned for more coverage of Metro’s traffic safety plan.)