Adams Administration Takes Victory Lap on Vision Zero

Adams Administration Takes Victory Lap on Vision Zero

By Forum Staff

As Gotham marks 10 years of Vision Zero, Mayor Eric Adams and the City Department of Transportation on Thursday touted the returns of the street safety program launched by Adams’ predecessor Bill de Blasio.

According to Adams and City Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, 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.

According to the administration, eight of the 10 safest years on Big Apple streets have come during the Vision Zero era, during which NYC’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.


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:

  • Epidemiologic reports on characteristics (such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and neighborhood poverty) of people injured in fatal traffic crashes.
  • Environment and Health Data Portal indicators that describe pedestrian and bicyclist injuries by neighborhood of residence.
  • A peer-reviewed manuscript on self-reported speeding by driver characteristics.
  • Six Research on the Road symposia coordinated with sister Vision Zero agencies and DDC’s Town+Gown: NYC to advance traffic safety research.

And since the launch of the Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan in 2017, more than 85,000 safety improvements have been made by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services 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

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, 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.


Education and Outreach

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, Adams said:

  • 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, the 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 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.


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