A commitment to Vision Zero – the elimination of deaths and serious injuries from road traffic collisions in Oxfordshire – has been agreed by Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet at its meeting this week
The council has set interim targets of a 25 per cent cut in casualties by 2026 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 before aiming to reach zero by 2050.
Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Recent tragic incidents on our roads have focused everyone’s minds on the vital importance on making our roads and streets safer for all users – especially the most vulnerable.
“The adoption of a Vision Zero approach for Oxfordshire signals a clear ambition and commits the council to taking a new approach. But we can’t achieve this alone. It will require close working with partners and stakeholders to look at infrastructure, behaviour, technology and legislation to achieve this change.”
Vision Zero was first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s and has proved successful across many large European cities. It is currently being actively progressed within the UK in a growing number of authorities.
The decision ratifies an aspiration announced by county council Leader Liz Leffman in March to make Vision Zero a success in Oxfordshire.
Although the total number of reported road casualties in Oxfordshire has fallen over the past 10 years, road deaths have remained unchanged, with an average of 25 per year. In recent years, the annual average total of serious injuries in the county has been 210.
There are a number of different strands which will need to come together and be managed as a single programme to achieve this ambition.
- speed management in partnership with Thames Valley Police
- good and fit for purpose new infrastructure
- improvements for cyclists
- road safety education and training
- wider improvement programmes, including Oxfordshire County Council’s 20mph scheme.
Councillor Dan Levy, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cycling and Active Travel Champion, said: “As chair of the cycling safety working group, it is excellent to see words being translated into actions. Vision Zero is an aim of the cycling campaign groups we have been working with in the aftermath of these recent tragedies, and its successful implementation will be our commitment to the memory of the cyclists who have lost their lives.
“There is a lot we can do that won’t cost additional money, by making sure that all new highways work is done taking account of our commitment to cycling and walking.”
An initial sum of £250,000 from reserves has been identified for the delivery of prioritised Vision Zero initiatives to support vulnerable road users.
Dr Alison Hill, Chair of cycling campaign group Cyclox, which is part of the cycling safety working group, said: “To eliminate deaths and serious injury on our roads is going to require huge commitment and a change in approach from the council and its partners.
“We need to design out danger, particularly for people who cycle and walk. We need to take action now. We owe it to the families of those who have been killed and have suffered life changing injuries on Oxfordshire’s roads.”