Indiana Introduces Plan to Eliminate Fatal Car Crashes

July 10, 2024
Move is part of international Vision Zero concept

The Indianapolis City-County Council introduced a proposal this week committing to eliminating all fatal and serious car crashes by 2035.

The plan aligns with Vision Zero, the international street safety concept that aims to prevent all pedestrian deaths from car crashes.

"The introduction of Vision Zero represents a significant step towards making our streets safer for everyone," said Andy Nielsen, Indiana councilor and sponsor in a news release. "Traffic fatalities and serious injuries are not just accidents; they are preventable tragedies. We owe it to our community to take action."

The proposal establishes a Vision Zero task force charged with developing and setting up an action plan by July 1, 2025. The 15-person task force will include council members and community representatives and must meet at least twice a year.

The action plan will follow the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Safe System Approach, which tries to mitigate driver error and emphasize proactive safety measures.

Vision Zero has been discussed in Indianapolis since 2016, when it was mentioned in a countywide Pedestrian Safety Plan developed by Indianapolis.

Many similar-sized cities have taken on Vision Zero plans. For example, Columbus, Ohio has lowered speed limits, installed crosswalks and removed obstructions near intersections.

The city has historically been constrained by the state’s road funding formula, which allocates funds based on road mileage, meaning a mile of one-lane road used once a day equals the same dollar amount as a highway hit by rush hour twice a day.

However, there may be solutions that don't rely on this funding formula. Cities like Cincinnati and Milwaukee, which have implemented low-cost “traffic-calming” solutions, such as speed humps or speed feedback signs.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works said it’s investing in "tactical urbanism," which includes many of those smaller traffic-calming measures. The department is also spending unused funding, originally allocated for salting roads, on making pedestrian intersections in school zones safer.


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