Powerful Visualization of Road Safety

When road safety is discussed, accident statistics are usually the focus – the numbers of deaths and injuries in particular. They are numerable proof of risks and hazards – in other words of “lack of road safety”. Conversely, the Vision Zero Map from the expert organization DEKRA actually makes road safety visible. It records towns and cities that, in at least one year since 2009, have achieved the most important goal of Vision Zero: zero traffic deaths. The data has been recently updated again – right in time for the UN Road Safety Week which is starting today.

  • More than 1,200 towns and cities with zero traffic deaths in at least one year
  • Map records towns and cities with over 50,000 inhabitants from 26 countries
  • Accidents in smaller towns play an important role

The interactive map displays the data for around 3,000 towns and cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants from 26 countries across the world. This data shows that Vision Zero – ensuring everyone arrives at their destination safe and sound – is not an unattainable utopia; it is already partly a reality. More than 1,200 towns and cities were successful in ensuring that not a single person was killed in road traffic in built-up areas over at least one year. “These successes should motivate us in our commitment to road safety,” states DEKRA Board Member and COO Stan Zurkiewicz. “Others can learn from the successful towns and cities.”

The largest city on the “Zero Fatality” list is the Swedish city of Gothenburg with more than 500,000 inhabitants; other cities include Espoo (Finland), Stavanger (Norway), Aachen (Germany), Schaarbeek (Belgium), Le Havre (France), Salzburg (Austria), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Vigo (Spain). There were also successes outside Europe; towns and cities such as Oxnard (California, USA), Red Deer (Alberta, Canada), Buenavista (Mexico), Cerro Navia (Chile), Suzuka (Japan), and Campbeltown (New South Wales, Australia) are on the positive list.

It is noteworthy that a number of towns and cities have been able to maintain the number of traffic deaths at zero over many years. More than 150 towns and cities have achieved the goal in six or more years since 2009 – among the leaders are Kerpen (Germany, ten years), Lake Forest (California, USA, ten years), and Siero (Spain, eleven years).

“The evidence from towns and cities without traffic deaths has shown that multiple stakeholders are responsible for this success,” says Zurkiewicz. “Decades of work are now bearing fruit – the work of many parties in traffic planning, vehicle development, politics and administration, emergency services, road safety volunteer organizations, media, vehicle inspection organizations, and many more. Endeavors must continue across all levels in order to ensure that we come closer to the goal of Vision Zero not only in urban centers, but also elsewhere.”

This is particularly true given the fact that significantly more people die in road traffic in smaller communities than in big cities according to absolute figures. This is why the approach of the DEKRA map (starting with communities with just 50,000 inhabitants) is the right one from the point of view of the experts. “Urban road safety work must not only be concentrated in cities; if anything, it should be stepped up in towns and villages,” states Zurkiewicz.

The interactive map can be accessed at www.dekra-vision-zero.com.