Vision Zero

Making Columbia’s road system safe for everyone

Campaign Impact

Local Motion led a successful advocacy campaign, which resulted in the unanimous adoption of Vision Zero by Columbia City Council in December 2016.

In April 2017, the Vision Zero project team finalized the Vision Zero Action Plan for 2017-2020. This is the set of strategies that the team and community partners will carry out over the next 3 years to allow Columbia to reach zero.


Over the course of seven months at the end of 2014 and through early 2015, an alarming series of crashes between drivers and people walking occurred in and around Columbia. These crashes killed four people while walking and injured at least six other pedestrians.

In response, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid established the Mayor's Task Force on Pedestrian Safety in May 2015. The Task Force was charged with providing the City government with recommendations on how to reduce crashes between drivers and people walking.

Local Motion shared with the Task Force the philosophy of Vision Zero, which has proven to be successful in reducing not just pedestrian crashes, but all traffic deaths and serious injuries overall.

The Task Force released its final report to City Council in March 2016. The top recommendation of the Task Force report was to adopt a Vision Zero policy. The Task Force structured all its other specific strategy recommendations within the framework of Vision Zero.


Vision Zero is a transportation policy goal and data-driven strategy to achieve zero traffic deaths or serious injuries on our roadways. Vision Zero challenges the belief that traffic deaths are just the unavoidable price we pay for modern mobility. These crashes are preventable and ethically unacceptable.

Vision Zero is comprehensive: it considers all road users and values the safety of people walking, biking, using a wheelchair or public transit just as much as people driving. This approach looks at how different types of road users interact, and prioritizes the safety of vulnerable road users, such as people walking, because they are the most likely to be killed or injured if there is a crash.

  • Uses crash data to analyze where and why crashes are happening
  • Prioritizes resources to prevent the types of crashes that are most likely to result in death or serious injury
  • Develops a data-driven strategy with clear and measurable goals and a timeline for eliminating traffic fatalities
  • Challenges the culture of acceptance of deaths and injuries on our road system, which is in contrast to other forms of transportation like air travel, where zero fatalities are tolerated
  • Emphasizes that speed is the major determining factor in whether or not a crash will result in a death or serious injury
  • Uses the terminology “crash” instead of “accident,” because “accident” implies that nothing could have been done to prevent it
  • Shifts responsibility from individual road users to the entire road system, including roadway design, education and enforcement
  • Unites everyone in a common goal of safety – people driving, walking, biking, using a wheelchair or public transit

In Columbia, a person is injured in a traffic crash every 10 hours. In 2015, 646 people were injured and 8 people were killed in traffic crashes in the City of Columbia. The risk of being killed on a roadway in Columbia is more than double the risk in New York City or Seattle.

Columbia residents deserve safer streets. With Vision Zero as a guiding principle, the City of Columbia can set a course for zero traffic fatalities in our community.

Vision Zero will allow the community to collaborate on strategies to:

  • Design streets to be safe for all road users
  • Educate road users to travel safely and respectfully
  • Enforce traffic safety laws
  • Analyze and share safety data to be transparent and responsive to all users

Local Motion feels strongly that adopting a Vision Zero policy and strategy is a critical next step to making Columbia’s road system safe for everyone. Local Motion is collaborating with City departments, commissions, elected officials, University researchers and community members to advocate for Vision Zero.

This project is funded by a Missouri Foundation for Health Special Projects grant.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Lawrence Simonson at


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