Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, even as we continue to grow at a record pace. Today, we’re previewing some exciting news with the City Council’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee. Preliminary data from 2018 indicate a continued downward trend in fatal and serious injury collisions as we work our way toward Seattle’s Vision Zero goal. Stay tuned for a full 2019 Vision Zero Progress Report this spring that will highlight the last 2 years of work and look ahead to the rest of the year and into 2020.
Remembering those lost and injured
According to this early data, 2018 saw the second fewest deaths ever on Seattle streets. While we’re excited to share this news, we recognize our work is far from done. Every data point on a map or chart represents a human being. A life cut short. In the past couple of weeks, two people have lost their lives while traveling on city streets – one person was biking, the other was walking. Both of these occurred on high crash corridors where we have and will continue to make design changes. Both leave behind friends, families, and broader communities who now have a hole in their hearts, and we grieve with them.
A comprehensive approach
While we’re still learning about what contributed to these crashes, their occurrence points to the ongoing importance of taking a data-driven approach to our work – whether it be in determining where to focus safety improvements on, or what behavioral issues to pinpoint. However, deeply foundational to this work is also the ongoing task of establishing a shared sense of kindness, respect, and empathy as we’re each traveling, day-to-day. To achieve that type of societal shift, and to get to zero, we’ll need the partnership of organizations and individuals.
Take action today
Speaking of partnerships and individuals, here’s something you can do today: pledge to use the word “crash” instead of “accident.” A simple change in language is a small, but meaningful start to help shift the conversation around traffic crashes from things that just happen to tragedies that can be prevented through street design, education, engagement, and partnership.
Together, we can work toward safer streets for all.