Vision Zero Year Ten: 2023

This year marked the tenth year of the Vision Zero era, which was launched in 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  This tenth year was the target year by which “Vision Zero” was meant to be achieved.   While traffic fatalities in Queens remained lower in 2023 than before the Vision Zero era, they have generally been on an upward trajectory since 2017.  Whether due to corruption or indifference, NYPD continues to neglect its responsibility for traffic safety, with enforcement efforts remaining dramatically lower than before Vision Zero launched.

Fatalities.  Total traffic fatalities in Queens have fallen by 20 percent, from 93 fatalities in 2013 to 74 fatalities in 2023. Pedestrian fatalities have declined 50 percent from 52 fatalities in 2013 to 26 fatalities in 2023. Cyclist deaths have risen from two fatalities in 2013 to six in 2023.  Citywide, there was an 18 percent reduction in overall traffic fatalities over the same ten-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 2023 is provided here.

Injuries. In 2023, there were 2,310 pedestrians injured in Queens by motor vehicles, a decline of 18% from the Vision Zero benchmark year, 2013. There have been 890 injuries to cyclists, an increase of 8% since 2013. Overall, including motor vehicle occupants, there were 15,509 people injured in motor vehicle crashes in Queens last year, virtually unchanged since 2013. Citywide, there has been a 4% reduction in injuries over this time.

Enforcement. The overall effort of police officers in Queens toward ticketing motorists for dangerous and reckless driving behaviors is far lower today than it was before Vision Zero was launched a decade ago (see chart below).  While enforcement of speeding and not yielding right of way to pedestrians remain significantly higher than pre-Vision Zero levels, tickets issued for illegal cell phone use, disobeying signs/traffic control devices, and improper turns remain sharply down. Enforcement actions for running red lights in Queens remains about on par with pre-Vision Zero levels.  Enforcement across all six categories in Queens is down 30% since 2013, which is even more extreme than the overall 22% drop in enforcement citywide.

A detailed report, with results by community board, is available here.