Tracking Progress: Vision Zero Year Five

The first year of Mayor De Blasio’s second term, 2018, marked the fifth complete year of the Vision Zero era. While traffic fatalities in Queens remained sharply lower in 2018 than before the Vision Zero era, they were higher than in either of the previous two years. In 2018, we also continued to see a rise in traffic injuries and flagging enforcement efforts.

Fatalities. 2018 broke a four-year streak in declining traffic deaths in Queens. Total traffic fatalities in Queens have fallen by 26 percent, from 93 fatalities in 2013 to 69 fatalities in 2018. Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have declined 22 percent from 54 fatalities in 2013 to 42 fatalities in 2018. Citywide, there was a 30 percent reduction in fatalities over the same five year period.

The chart above shows the progress that has been made in reducing traffic fatalities in Queens.

A partial list of the neighbors that we lost in 2018 is provided here.

Injuries. In 2018, there were 2,649 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 5% from the Vision Zero benchmark year, 2013. There have been 792 injuries to cyclists, a sharp drop of nearly 13 percent since 2017, and a net decline of 4% since 2013. Overall, including motor vehicle occupants, there have been 18,694 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens over the past year, up 20% since 2013. Citywide, there has been a 10% increase in injuries over this time.

Enforcement. Overall, while enforcement of speeding, red light running, and not giving right of way to pedestrians remains significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for illegal cell phone use, an important contributor to distracted driving, remains sharply down. Overall, enforcement across all four categories in Queens is up 18% since 2013. Citywide, enforcement is up 24%. Overall, the level of enforcement in Queens according to these measures was about 1% higher than in 2017.

For its own Vision Zero analysis, the city tracks a broader list of six categories of traffic violations, including Improper Turn, and Disobey Sign/Traffic Control Device. With these additional categories included, a clearer trend toward greater enforcement can be seen since 2013 (see chart below).

We continue to urge our representatives in the state legislature to authorize more urgently needed traffic safety cameras for the city. And we continue to urge the NYPD to continue to increase its focus on enforcement, and NYCDOT to accelerate the pace of street redesigns.

Full detailed report, with results by community board, available here.