Our City and our families deserve safer streets and eliminating traffic fatalities is a top priority for the Vision Zero Task Force. Unfortunately, in 2020 we saw an alarming spike in traffic deaths at a time when there were fewer cars on the roads due to pandemic response. Traffic safety experts say this could have encouraged speeding and aggressive driving.

Together with all of the challenges Philadelphians faced last year, these tragic deaths make our Vision Zero efforts more important than ever.  

A trend that needs to shift down  

Our current trend toward zero needs to shift down in order to reach our goal by 2030. Last year, nearly 160 people lost their lives in traffic crashes, including 52 pedestrians, 6 cyclists, 30 people in motorcycle, and 67 traveling in automobile. In fact, in July 2020 we saw the highest monthly point of traffic deaths in the four years since Philadelphia committed to ending traffic fatalities, with 24 victims. This is nearly an 80% increase in traffic fatalities* when compared to the last five years (2015-2019).  

No one should have to grieve the loss of a loved one as a result of a traffic crash. Last November, in advance of  World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the City renewed its commitment to ending traffic fatalities by 2030 by releasing the new and reimagined Vision Zero Action Plan 2025. 

The Vision Zero Action Plan 2025 builds on Philadelphia’s progress over the last three years and advances the next phase of work using a safe systems framework. The plan identifies strategic action items for safe speeds, safe streets, safe people, safe vehicles, safety data and transformative policies. 

Vision Zero in 2021 

Among the actions set in the Vision Zero Action Plan 2025 for the next five years, there are key strategies we hope to tackle in 2021.

Safe Streets & Safe Speeds 

  • Begin planning for New Slow Zones in Tenth Memorial & West Passyunk Ave, and installing medians on North Broad for greater pedestrian safety 
  • Installing protected bicycle lanes on 2nd St., 5th St., 10th St., Parkside Ave, and Grays Ferry Ave as part of the City’s High-Quality Bike Networks part of the City’s High-Quality Bike Network 

Safe People 

  • Promote traffic safety education by expanding Safe Routes Philly program to Philadelphia schools
  • Develop a Vision Zero Youth Ambassador program 

Safety Data 

  • Release the Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan 
  • Improve crash data by working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to gather zip code and race/ethnicity data  

Transformative Policies 

  • Work with State to enable legislation to expand the automated speed enforcement program to within ¼ mile of all schools and all High Injury Network streets 
  • Pass the Curb Bill to allow safe street design 

Safe Vehicles  

  • Increasing the City’s bikeshare system, Indego, to 350 total stations and expanding to new neighborhoods while ensuring accessibility and affordability for low-income riders
  • Work with SEPTA, Indego bike share and large employers (hospitalsuniversities, etc) to continue to support transportation options that reduce driving 

Let us work together in 2021 to build a transportation system that promotes safety and enables healthier living. To help inform our work, report transportation hazards and dangerous traffic behaviors in your community via this tool 

* All crash data/analysis in this blog is preliminary from PPD-reported data.