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(October 17, 2017)

Omaha will join a growing number of U.S. cities studying and implementing Vision Zero, a strategy to reduce and eliminate traffic deaths.

The Active Living Advisory Committee, created by Mayor Jean Stothert’s Executive Order in 2014, provided an overview of Vision Zero to Mayor Stothert in July. She asked the committee to prepare a recommendation on next steps.  The Committee’s recommendation, received this month, is that Omaha become a Vision Zero City. The committee recommends further study and development of a Vision Zero strategy by a task force created by the Mayor and a timeline to present a final report.

Sweden created the Vision Zero model in 1997.  The idea is now spreading to cities in the United States including Columbia, Missouri, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, Fremont, California and others.

Vision Zero cities meet four minimum criteria:

  • A clear goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries
  • Mayor’s commitment to Vision Zero
  • A Vision Zero plan or strategy is in place, or a timeline for implementation
  • Key city departments (including police, transportation and public health) are engaged.

According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, there were 12,155 vehicle crashes in Douglas County in 2016, 36 fatalities and 6,116 injuries. (http://dot.nebraska.gov/media/10414/facts2016.pdf)

“Vision Zero is a common sense goal we should strive for,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “Public safety is our primary responsibility and priority.  The Active Living Advisory Committee has presented an excellent recommendation and we will proceed.”

The Active Living Advisory Committee recommends a final report within 9-18 months.

"A vision zero goal prioritizes human life as we make decisions on transportation design, education, and enforcement. It also promotes interagency coordination of safety analysis and implementation,” said Committee Chairman Mark Stursma. “I would like to personally thank Mayor Stothert for her leadership on this important initiative.  The goal is zero, but if even one life is saved it will be a worthwhile endeavor.”

Members of the Active Living Advisory Committee are:

Mark Stursma, Planning Director, City of Papillion (Committee Chair)

Ben Turner, Omaha B-cycle Executive Director

Andy Wessel, Douglas County Health Department

Christopher Rolling, Civil Engineer, Olsson Associates

Tom Everson, Founder - Keep Kids Alive Drive 25

Pell Duvall, Duvall Consulting

More information about the Active Living Advisory Committee and the Vision Zero recommendation is available at: https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org/2-uncategorised/179-active-living-advisory-committee