Hawai‘i Public Health Institute is an enthusiastic partner of PATH and a member of the mayor’s Active Living Advisory Committee (MALAC), as well as an advocate for Vision Zero in Hawai’i County. On Wednesday, February 20, the Hawai’i County Council Transportation Committee passed Resolution Number 38-19 to adopt the goals, strategies, and policies of the Vision Zero Task Force to prevent traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries in Hawai’i County, by a vote of 8-1.

About Vision Zero – A New Vision for Traffic Safety

Vision Zero Mission: Eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.

International Framework: First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has spread across the world and is gaining momentum in U.S. cities to ensure people have safe options to move about their communities, including walking, bicycling, driving, or riding transit.

Approach: Unlike traditional traffic safety approaches, Vision Zero defines traffic collisions as a systemic problem that demands a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive approach to solve. Vision Zero strategies emphasize the need for data-driven strategies that prioritize effective solutions for eliminating fatalities on roadways.

Vision Zero acknowledges that these tragedies are preventable, and the choices we make — particularly at the policy level and related to the built environment — have a far greater impact than we have traditionally believed. What we have long called “accidents” are most often related to policies, systems, and environments that can be improved upon with collective action and political will.

Why Vision Zero in Hawai‘i County

For the past several years, Hawai‘i County has led the state in the percentage of traffic fatalities per population.

We will enact Vision Zero in Hawai‘i County by…

Making the following commitments:

  • Recognize traffic deaths and severe injuries can be prevented
  • Focus on protecting human life and health across the transportation system
  • Create transportation systems that accommodate for human error
  • Prioritize systemic changes rather than individual behavior changes
  • Recognize and emphasize speed as the main factor of crash severity

Organizing a task force to:

  • Build collaboration among a diverse group of stakeholders to include transportation professionals, policymakers, public health officials, police, and community members (Note: Planning Director, Michael Yee is willing to lead quarterly meetings of representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Mass Transit, Liquor Control, Parks and Recreation, Fire, and the DOT District office and representatives from the Department of Health, Blue Zones, PATH, HIPHI and other stakeholders.);
  • Collect, analyze, and use data to understand trends and potential disproportionate impacts of traffic deaths on certain populations;
  • Engage the community and address any equity issues; and
  • Set a timeline to achieve zero traffic deaths and serious injuries, which brings urgency and accountability, and ensuring transparency on progress and challenges.

As a member of the Vision Zero Task Force and with the leadership of PATH and MALAC, we look forward to enacting the recommendations from the task force to increase the safety of all road users for a healthier and safer Hawai’i Island. For more information on Vision Zero, contact Sally at sally@hiphi.org.