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New initiative focuses on zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2050 in Las Vegas

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The City of Las Vegas adopted a resolution to launch a new initiative aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries on roadways by 2050.

Council members unanimously approved the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan. It is a collaboration effort between the city, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Clark County School District, and other entities to make road improvements and enhance safety education.

“This is a transformational program, and it's going to take some time to implement,” Joey Paskey, a traffic engineer and Deputy Director of Public Works for the City of Las Vegas said. “One of the ways that we're going to prioritize these are using data driven decisions to prioritize projects in order to do improvements in areas that are going to get the best bang for our buck in terms of reducing fatalities and serious injuries."

The city reports an average of one fatality and three and a half serious injuries each week on roadways. Despite the data, Paskey said the idea of zero fatalities and serious injuries is a realistic goal.

“Some cities have done it,” she said. “Some cities have come close, and others are making really good progress. Oslo, Norway is a similarly sized city and they got to one in 2019 through a host of different measures. Hoboken, New Jersey, much smaller city, I think 54,000 people, they've actually had zero for three years in a row. So this is doable.”

Vision Zero started in Sweden in the nineties and proved successful across Europe according to the Vizion Zero website. It is now implemented in more than 45 states with a goal of stopping the more than 40,000 traffic deaths that happen a year in the U.S. and the thousands of severe injuries.

The City of Las Vegas’s plan has five main strategies:

  1. Enhance the City’s Approach to Transportation
  2. Create Safer Streets for All
  3. Implement Safer Speeds
  4. Promote a Culture of Safety
  5. Enhance Communication, Transparency, and Accountability.

Paskey said the city determined while creating the plan that 77% of traffic fatalities and serious injuries happen on only 11% of Las Vegas streets. The plan includes a High Injury Network that identifies the problem areas.

“So our High Injury Network, actually it spans a whole entire city and those areas are the areas that we're going to be looking at first,” Paskey said. “We really try to use data to determine what is the complexity of the situation and also to determine which countermeasures are going to be most effective in solving whatever problem it is at hand. Is it speeding? Is it crashes? What is that thing and what can we best do to curve it.”

Paskey said the plan is not just about infrastructure improvements but educational campaigns through social media and engaging with community partners.

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The city is continuing to collect data and is working on sustainable funding for the program’s future. The city received a $1.85 million grant from the federal government on Wednesday to implement the initiative.

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