How Vision Zero Made New Yorkers Safer and Saved Money

Good morning. It’s Thursday. Today we’ll find out how the Vision Zero initiative, introduced 10 years ago, reduced more than injuries from traffic accidents. We’ll also get details on a first step toward more secure on-street parking places for bicycles.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Vision Zero, a package of initiatives introduced when Bill de Blasio was mayor a decade ago, is often credited with bringing down traffic deaths in New York City. A new study concluded that it had done more than that: It saved Medicaid more than $90 million in its first five years in reimbursements for treating people with traffic-related injuries.

The study, published in The American Journal of Public Health, said that there had been a 30 percent reduction in traffic injuries from 2014 to 2019, the first five years of Vision Zero.

The study also found that low-income New Yorkers had fewer injuries from crashes involving automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians. The sharpest drop in traffic-related injuries, the study said, was among Black New Yorkers.

Vision Zero promised changes from several city agencies, not just the Department of Transportation or the Police Department. The initiative reduced speed limits to 25 miles per hour, from 30 m.p.h.; introduced physical modifications to streets, including protected lanes for bicycles; and stepped up traffic enforcement.

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