COLUMBIA — Vision Zero, a Swedish traffic initiative, has been formally adopted by the Mayor's Task Force for Pedestrian Safety as its defining rubric.
The traffic initiative was unanimously approved 14-0 at the task force's Tuesday afternoon meeting.
The three subcommittees of the task force — education, enforcement and engineering — met separately before reconvening to discuss. Each group had something in common — they were all using Vision Zero as a framework for their plans. Vision Zero was first presented to the committee at its October meeting. The goal of the initiative is to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries.
By February, the subcommittees will need to have suggestions ready for improved pedestrian safety in Columbia. It was suggested that each committee provide an event idea, such as an education campaign, temporary traffic calming or extra enforcement for Columbia's annual Bike, Walk and Wheel Week next May.
Vision Zero strategies and policies will be chosen and tailored to Columbia, members said. Other cities that have chosen to implement Vision Zero include San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, Seattle and most recently, San Diego.
The education subcommittee focused their individual meeting on what groups to reach out to for education on pedestrian safety. One such group is international students, who account for one-third of traffic fatalities in Columbia. The subcommittee also wants to partner with corporate sponsors and organizations to promote safety changes in Columbia.
An increased number of traffic officers may be a solution to decreasing accidents, said Nate Brown, a member of the task force and enforcement subcommittee. Exposing the details of accidents between pedestrians and vehicles could bring awareness.
"What we're doing here is saving lives," Brown said.
The engineering subcommittee suggested red light cameras and conducting road safety audits. Studying the audits would provide the opportunity to prioritize certain streets, neighborhoods and intersections.
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