Mixed-methods approach to describing Vision Zero initiatives in United States' municipalities.
Author(s): Evenson, Kelly R; LaJeunesse, Seth; Keefe, Elyse; Naumann, Rebecca B
Publication Date: Feb-2023
Journal: Accident Analysis and Prevention
Abstract: Vision Zero (VZ) aims to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from road traffic crashes to zero through a Safe Systems approach. Little is known about the extent of uptake of VZ in the United States (US), or the attributes and functioning of the initiatives. Using a mixed-methods design, our objectives were to describe the status of VZ implementation and characteristics of those initiatives among US municipalities. Websites of all US municipalities with a population of at least 50,000 (n = 788) were searched to identify involvement in VZ. When initiatives were identified, we abstracted information from their website and other published documents, using a comprehensive framework of best practice VZ components. From the VZ initiatives identified, we interviewed representatives from 12 municipalities with diversity by region of the country, population size, and VZ implementation. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes. Through systematic web-based searching, we identified 86 of 788 (10.9%) municipalities with a VZ initiative. Among 314 larger municipalities (population >=100,000), 68 (21.7%) were identified. Among 476 medium-size municipalities (population of 50,000-99,999), 18 (3.8%) were identified. VZ initiatives began as early as 2014, starting with larger municipalities, and followed in 2015 with medium-size municipalities. Among the VZ initiatives, 58 (67.4%) recorded a vision statement, with 51 (59.3%) setting a target year to reach zero deaths. Thirty-nine (45.3%) had published VZ plans, with another 22 (25.6%) working towards a plan. Twenty-five initiatives (29.1%) shared resources across stakeholder groups, such as funding or staff. Forty-six initiatives (53.5%) had an established coalition, and 18 (20.9%) proposed or were developing a coalition. Twenty-six initiatives (30.2%) provided regular updates or evaluation on progress towards performance metrics, but only 4 (4.7%) had implemented a performance management system to regularly track progress on VZ-related actions. The interviews provided further context and a more detailed understanding of results. Documenting the characteristics of VZ initiatives among US municipalities can contribute to an understanding of current practice, potential opportunities to support ongoing initiatives, and information to assist new initiatives. Ultimately, the impact of municipal-level VZ efforts should be evaluated with regards to traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.