Councillors of Leeds City Council Executive Board have confirmed support to adopt a new Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 Strategy.
In March 2022 Leeds Safe Roads Partnership, chaired by Leeds City Council, launched a consultation that asked the people of Leeds to comment on a strategy, developed by the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership, to eliminate road death and serious injury, with the vision of zero by 2040.
The Vision Zero Strategy is made up of five ‘Safe System pillars’ to address road danger:
1) Safe Behaviours and People
This pillar focuses on the behaviours that cause the most risk to all road-users. They include speeding, seatbelt offences, drink and drug driving, distraction, and careless driving. All road-users need to behave safely, with those who have the potential to cause the greatest harm to others bearing the most responsibility for safety.
2) Safe Speeds
This aims to prevent and discourage people from speeding, though measures such as targeted enforcement, education and the potential reduction of speed limits on faster roads.
3) Safe Roads
By reconfiguring street designs and widening networks of safe routes, the strategy will prioritise humans and communities over vehicles. More space for people and less for cars will ensure people feel safe to travel in greener, healthier ways.
4) Safe Vehicles
Everyone has a responsibility to use roadworthy vehicles, and the strategy will raise awareness of this. By enforcing offences, using modern technology and creating innovative design features more crashes can be prevented.
5) Post-collision Learning and Care
By examining the reasons behind crashes, we can identify the most effective ways to prevent them happening again. This pillar will also raise awareness of support services for victims and advocate for justice.
A consultation in March 2022 – April 2022 sought the views of Leeds residents about the Vision Zero Strategy and provided opportunity for ideas from local people about how they want their city to change to improve road safety.
Key take aways from the consultation feedback included:
- Understanding all facets of road danger
- A call to add ‘careless and dangerous driving’, as a fifth and arguably riskiest reason for fatalities
- A demand for work and investigation into the introduction of lower speed limits on faster roads in Leeds.
Between 2017 and 2021, road crashes in Leeds killed 93 people and seriously injured another 1,562 (1,655 in total). Behind each statistic, there is a personal tragedy, someone whose health has been impacted or life cut short, families and loved ones traumatised and bereaved and other impacts on those who have witnessed and/or been involved in dealing with the incident on site, particularly amongst the emergency services.
Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate, said: “Around the world, cities are pioneering a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger. We have a bold ambition; that by 2040 no one will be killed or suffer serious injuries on roads in Leeds.
“For Leeds to be a city where you don’t need a car, roads must be safe for people to walk, scoot, wheel, and cycle.
“Vision Zero is our strategy to cut traffic risk so that no one is killed or seriously injured using the roads. This safe system model was adopted in the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy, which changed our approach to addressing road danger and recognised that road danger can prevent more people from walking and cycling.
“If road deaths were eliminated and there was increased use of active travel, a positive impact on access to jobs and services and inclusive growth would be realised. Active travel is an achievable way of increasing levels of activity which promotes health and wellbeing; and reductions in traffic levels and increases in active travel will reduce carbon emissions from transport.”
Leeds District Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Dodds said: “The stark statistics for deaths and serious injuries on the roads in Leeds paint a very clear picture of why the Vision Zero strategy, and its ultimate long-term goal, is so important.
“It is a vital opportunity for us to maximise the combined expertise and resources of a range of partner agencies to help make the roads in our city and its communities safer for everyone.”
Operational Support Roads Policing, Chief Superintendent Ed Chesters said: “West Yorkshire Police is committed to working in close partnership with all agencies to achieve the Vision Zero ambition. Our approach is founded on the belief that all crashes, serious injuries and fatalities are preventable. Through effective coordination and collaboration, we will deploy our joint resources to engage, encourage and educate all road users to be safer, while robustly enforcing the law when required. Shared information will help us identify and deal with locations and individuals of concern. As ever, the public have a key role to play and I would continue to seek their assistance to help us reduce the risk of harm on the County’s roads”.
The Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero Strategy 2040 and Action Plan provide short-, medium- and long-term measures. Regular reviews will be undertaken to monitor progress to achieve the vision of eliminating crashes that kill or seriously injure people.