The Classic - Cycle Oregon

Metro’s new Vision Zero video is brilliant

Posted by on April 20th, 2017 at 10:47 am

Still from new Metro video on Vision Zero. (Watch full video below)

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.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • David Hampsten April 20, 2017 at 11:37 am


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  • rick April 20, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Nice, but I’m disappointed that Metro doesn’t get involved with pushing the political support for building effective trails on paper streets.

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  • 9watts April 20, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    That question framing sounded awfully familiar –

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  • Dan A April 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm


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    • 9watts April 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      or NIMFS
      Not In My Front Seat

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  • James Walker April 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    There is one way, and ONLY one way, to achieve zero serious injuries and fatalities in traffic crashes. The area must implement a no-fail method to restrict the actual travel speed of all vehicles to zero mph. If all the cars, trucks, buses, bicycles, Segways, trains, wheelchairs, skateboards, etc. travel no faster than zero mph, there will be no serious injuries or fatalities from traffic crashes.

    Commerce will grind to a halt, but the area will be free of traffic crash injuries.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

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    • MaxD April 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Great point James! How many members of your family would find it acceptable to be involved in a fatal traffic accident?

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      • rick May 3, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        What is the answer, James ?

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    • nuovorecord April 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Oh please. What an ignorant response. It’s not as if all of the death and serious injuries that result from vehicle crashes don’t impose a major financial toll on society, to say nothing of the just the sheer inhumanity of it all.

      But hey, you go right on defending 30,000+ fatalities every goddamn year, as if there’s NOTHING that can be done to reduce that number without destroying the economy.

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      • Dan A April 20, 2017 at 5:31 pm


        Thank you NMA!

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    • Chris I April 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      You are a monster.

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    • Huey Lewis April 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      That’s a great link under your name there. I signed up!

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    • SD May 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      James. You must realize that this is the argument people make when they know nothing about transportation.

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  • mh April 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    The most horrifying part of this is that the interviewees were generally so accepting of hundreds of deaths. Oh, try to improve it by 15 – 50%. Yes, NIMFS.

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    • Kristi Finney April 20, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Even my own family members seem to think the closest any tragedy will touch them is my son, which is not close enough to make any difference in their driving.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Great…AND I would love for METRO to ask the same questions of Police / Judges / law makers and Jury pools and video tape them….since enforcement seems to be the lagging link in addressing the repeat traffic offenders who just return to the streets…

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  • Mark smith April 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Metro has to be the biggest hypocrite on walking and bike safety. Let’s take a litle quiz. How many feet of protected bike lanes surround metro headquarters? How many feel of surface highway and high speed road surround metro?

    2. A lot

    Put one in their own basket for their answers.

    Metro could be a force for good in shrinking grand to people size. Metro could fund the long planned walking bridge to span the abyss from the north to the South side of 84. Metro could push for Lloyd​ Blvd to be bike and walk centric vs car centric.

    Buuuuuut….They did do a good job secretly burying pack. Go metro!

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    • nuovorecord April 21, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Q: How many miles of regional roadway does Metro actually own, and thus have control over how they are designed and built?

      A: Zero

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      • Mark smith April 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

        Your lack of understanding around how metro works is evident. Metro could easily just ask, and receive, pretty much whatever they wanted from PBOT and probably ODOT. Money makes the world go around and Metro has a lot of it.

        Again, Metro has done zero around their own office for bikes.

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        • nuovorecord April 25, 2017 at 9:21 am


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  • Pete April 20, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    The video calls out our misconceptions but in the end speaks to our hopes and better natures. Well done.

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  • Scott Kocher April 20, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Great video but still 30 seconds too long to go viral. Same for the (original?) VZ video from Nevada with only 6k views since 2011

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    • paikiala April 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

      seeds planted take time to grow. the more people planting seeds the larger the harvest.

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  • Kristi Finney April 20, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    I first saw a very similar video on the Utah Zero Fatalities website years ago (Nevada and Utah have the same program, Zero Fatalities). Here’s the link to the Target Zero one in Washington, aired in 2014.

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  • Richard L Layman April 21, 2017 at 11:47 am

    It’s great there’s an ad, but I disagree that it is particularly stupendous. It’s not so good that I feel compelled to promote it as an example of what other jurisdictions should do specifically. Although we need these kinds of ads and marketing campaigns.

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  • bjorn April 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Really explains the thinking behind how we ended up with a bunch of people living on culdesacs who want to drive 50 on division as they head into the city.

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