How many deaths on London’s roads is acceptable? That’s the question TfL is asking. The answer? An emphatic zero.
Hence Vision Zero: the plan to eliminate death and serious injury from London’s streets by 2041. To many this seems like a bold claim — 2,000 people die or are seriously injured on the road each year — but some treat these statistics with an air of inevitability.
However, there are things that can be done to make our streets safe, and it’s important to note that to some extent, things are already changing. In the year 2000, there were 5,833 serious injuries on London’s streets, of which 284 were deaths. Compare that to 2016 when that number fell to 2,385 (116 deaths).
A 20mph speed limit is planned for the entirety of the Congestion Charge zone to reduce this number further. Another plan aims to make London buses safer — from next year, all new vehicles will have audible alerts for pedestrians and other road users, more blindspot mirrors, and the vehicles have technology which lowers their speed limits. This feeds into the Mayor’s aim for no-one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030.
Another major aspect of the plan is to move people away from private vehicles, by making them feel safer walking, cycling and taking public transport. Getting more people cycling is a laudable plan, although there is still plenty of opposition to cycling infrastructure, as Westminster’s objection to a Cycle Superhighway recently demonstrated.
This plan takes inspiration from Sweden — world leaders in road safety — where Vision Zero has more than halved the number of deaths on roads since its launch in 1997.
Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, said:
How has society come to accept that road deaths and injuries are just the price we have to pay moving around in a big city? Sadiq has made it clear he will do everything in his power to make our streets safer. As the first Mayor of London to commit to a Vision Zero ambition, he recognises that we need a radical new approach if we are going to eliminate deaths and serious injuries.
Last Updated 14 November 2018