Getting to Zero: Designing Safer Streets with GIS
District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser launched Vision Zero in 2015 to inspire and transform DC's roadway safety efforts and to set the city's sights on a goal of zero fatalities or serious injuries on district streets through more effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering. This strategy is supplemented by prioritizing policies and projects that provide the greatest benefits to neighborhoods with streets that have seen historic disinvestment and high numbers of vulnerable populations. As part of the Vision Zero program, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has shifted to designing streets that are safe for everyone, working closely with community members to identify problems and build solutions.
"We know our efforts must ever evolve by applying lessons learned and data-driven solutions, especially to our most vulnerable street users and populations," said DDOT director Everett Lott. "We also know the burden of traffic violence falls disproportionately across DC, with Wards 7 and 8 hit hardest, and that's why we remain so keenly focused on equity."
Mayor Bowser's Vision Zero initiative started as an all-hands-on-deck approach to traffic safety. Through the mayor's FY 23 investments, more than a dozen of DC's most dangerous corridors have been made safer by reducing conflicts at 15 high-crash intersections, and school safety has also significantly improved through a major expansion to the district's school crossing guard program.
DDOT's Vision Zero 2022 Update involves collaboration among 30 district agencies, with 5 key agencies deeply involved and the Metropolitan Police Department serving an integral role.
A recently released Vision Zero 2022 Update focuses on centering equity in traffic safety and taking a holistic approach to making DC's transportation system safer. The Vision Zero 2022 Update also outlines the adoption of the national Safe System model, which is based on how an entire interconnected transportation system can become safer for everyone with the understanding that humans make mistakes, and human bodies are vulnerable to crash forces. The Safe System approach focuses on five key elements: Safe People, Safe Streets, Safe Vehicles, Safe Speeds, and Postcrash Care.
The district's renewed approach at achieving Vision Zero comes with a newly launched Vision Zero website, built using ArcGIS Hub technology, in collaboration with Esri partner SymGEO, a Maryland-based GIS company specializing in ArcGIS Hub, ArcGIS Online, and state and local government solutions. The new site, found at https://visionzero.dc.gov/, provides a consolidated home for information on current and upcoming traffic safety projects, as well as dashboards and map features for interactive user experiences. The website also serves as a robust educational tool in promoting safe traveling behaviors.
"The new Vision Zero DC website will help us work closely with community members to identify problems and build solutions," said DDOT Vision Zero director Linda Bailey. "SymGEO iterated quickly and efficiently on design ideas and built a very engaging platform solution for DDOT."
The Vision Zero DC site is organized into easily navigable sections based on audience interest and is designed to be mobile responsive and broadly accessible. The Education section features educational campaigns that help to promote safe driving and pedestrian habits throughout the district, while a poignant look at the human costs of dangerous driving and unsafe behaviors is presented in Vision Zero Stories, developed using ArcGIS StoryMaps technology.
The Safety Campaigns section targets the biggest threats to the most vulnerable travelers on DC's roadways. These include aggressive driving, impaired driving, occupant protection, pedestrian safety, and bicycle safety. A look at the Engineering section demonstrates the significant progress made in designing solutions to benefit vehicular and pedestrian traffic, conveniently organized into a Safety Treatment Toolbox. Expanding a section of the toolbox gives a wealth of information about each treatment "tool."
A Safety Intervention dashboard gives insight into all the implementations of the safety toolbox tools that have occurred to date, while an Annual Safety Improvement Program dashboard provides awareness into all the roadway and intersection improvements made throughout the city. Exploring the Crash Analysis page gives a deep dive into the data that's fueling the push for zero fatalities on DC's roadways, including a Fatality and Injury dashboard with authoritative data provided by the Metropolitan Police Department.\
Finally, DDOT's Highway Safety Office section features information on and many links to safety programs, grants, procedure manuals, and helpful publications.
Learn more about this important program and the significant progress made to date at https://visionzero.dc.gov/.
For more information, contact the following:
District Department of Transportation
Linda Bailey, Vision Zero Director
250 M Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Kevin McMaster, Principal
9841 Washingtonian Boulevard
Gaithersburg, MD 20878