The responsibility of road safety has traditionally been placed on the individual road user rather than onthe designers of the system. Road safety has tended to focus on encouraging good behaviour by roadusers via licensing, testing, education, training and publicity. Sweden is among those countries with the lowest number of traffic fatalities in relation to its population.
However, in spite of this excellent record, in 1997 the Swedish Parliament introduced a new approach to road safety called “Vision Zero”.Vision Zero is based on a refusal to accept human deaths or lifelong suffering as a result of road trafficaccidents. It requires moving the emphasis away from reducing thenumber of accidents to eliminating the risk of chronic health impairment caused by road accidents.Vision Zero in Sweden requires fatalities and serious injuries to be reduced to zero by 2020.
Towards a Target of Zero for Road Fatalities
Vision Zero: Adopting a Target of Zero for Road Traffic Fatalities and Serious Injuries
This report is divided into nine chapters, including this introductory chapter. Chapter 2 provides the context and background to the study and reviews European and Swedish road safety policy. Chapter 3 explains the methodology used in the study which included interviews with Swedish and European stakeholders, UK focus groups discussions and an on-line questionnaire survey of UK stakeholders. Chapter 4 presents a summary of the Swedish and European stakeholder interviews. Chapter 5 provides a summary of the UK focus group discussions while Chapter 6 provides an analysis of the UK stakeholder on-line questionnaire survey. Chapter 7 examines the costs and benefits of adopting a Vision Zero policy for road safety while Chapter 8 uses a backcasting approach to identify the possible pathways of implementing Vision Zero in the UK. Finally, Chapter 9 concludes the report by providing an analysis of the risks associated with adopting Vision Zero in the UK.
Road safety debates have frequently identifiedthe importance of having a system-wide approach to the urgent task of reducingdeath and injury. The system-wide approach is associated with the Swedish Vision Zero policy and its zero fatality targett.This view has met with citizen supportand professional resistance and this paper describes the result of focus group discussions and a survey of professionalsto explore these differences. The paperseeks to explain different views and the persistence of death and injury rates in the road traffic environment using the “insanity of normality” thesis produced by the Swiss psycho-therapist, Gruen.