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Vision Zero


A vision for safer streets.

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has proved successful across Europe — and is now gaining momentum in major American cities. Vision Zero focuses on identifying the steps necessary to meet the goal of zero fatalities and severe injuries and creating the collaborative framework needed to meet the goal.

On March 21, 2016, the Cambridge City Council unanimously adopted Vision Zero, and on February 8, 2018 the City released the Vision Zero Action Plan and announced the creation of 20 MPH Safety Zones in our 5 major squares. We've since expanded on that work and changed the speed limit to 20 mph on most Cambridge streets. We continue to implement projects and policies that will help us reach our goal of zero crashes that result in serious or fatal injuries.

We say “crash,” not “accident.” People tend to use the word “accident” to describe collisions on our streets, but we know they’re not just accidents. By adopting Vision Zero, we’ve acknowledged that most collisions are preventable. And, we’re working to stop them. Changing our language is a simple first step towards changing the way we think about our transportation system. You, and everyone you know, should be able to travel around Cambridge knowing that you won’t be involved in a crash that has life-altering consequences. 

Watch the video to learn more about Vision Zero or click the button to explore the Action Plan.

Explore the Action Plan

Crash Data

Our Vision Zero policy, means that we take a data-driven approach to our work.

The City recently released a traffic crash open dataset that updates on a daily basis Monday-Friday at 12 p.m. This automated dataset from approved crash reports encompasses the date, time and location of a crash, the neighborhood where the crash occurred (if available), if there were any injuries to anyone involved in a crash, if a motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist was involved in a crash, and if any victims were transported to the hospital.


The graph below provides information about the number of crashes and EMS transports each year. We’re working to get more comprehensive data about the number of crashes that result in serious injuries.

Crashes Per Year By Mode + EMS Transports Per Year (All Modes)

EMS Transports (all modes)
200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020202102004006008001,0001,2001,4001,6001,800YearNumber of Crashes
Year EMS Transports (all modes) Auto-Only Bicycle Involved* Pedestrian Involved
2009 312 312 1,294 157 88
2010 356 356 1,297 191 106
2011 334 334 1,416 177 117
2012 349 349 1,212 213 99
2013 326 326 1,232 177 111
2014 285 285 1,304 158 91
2015 316 316 1,413 143 94
2016 334 334 1,292 187 110
2017 276 276 1,269 154 102
2018 245 245 1,199 139 110
2019 231 231 1,204 144 106
2020 119 119 732 66 35
2021 233 233 1,038 76 58
2022 265 265 1,152 139 80

*The "Bicycle Involved" category includes three crashes involving people skateboarding and one crash involving a person using a non-motorized scooter.

Working Group Members

The City Manager’s Office leads and supports all City departments and services. The Manager and staff are responsible for the enforcement of laws and City ordinances and the submission of the Annual Budget.

The Office supports Vision Zero by ensuring that departments use resources efficiently and work together towards the goal of zero crashes that result in fatal or serious injuries.

The Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) works to reduce and eliminate barriers and discrimination faced by people with disabilities. Staff answer questions, provide information and referrals, and give technical assistance.

CCPD supports Vision Zero by ensuring that departments communicate and implement projects in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.

The Community Development Department (CDD) guides planning and future growth in a manner that best supports the health, sustainability, and diversity of Cambridge.

CDD supports Vision Zero by collaborating with other departments to plan and implement transportation projects, educating the community about how to safely walk and bike in the city, and managing Bluebikes growth.

The Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) provides services and programs that touch almost every person in the city, including newborns, senior citizens, school-aged children, families who are homless, non-profit organizations, and local employers.

DHSP supports Vision Zero by helping to ensure that our work meets the diverse needs of and is accessible to the Cambridge community.

The Information Technology Department (ITD) provides centralized technology services to all City staff.

ITD supports Vision Zero by ensure that staff have the technology they need to conduct their work. Additionally, the Department provides direct support related to Graphic Information Systems (maps) and the management of open data and data analytics.

The License Commission is responsible for issuing licenses and enforcing rules, local ordinances, and state laws that regulate a wide variety of goods and services, including taxicabs, parking lots, and garages.

The Commission supports Vision Zero by providing education to licensees about best practices for operating safely; including educating taxi drivers about bike and pedestrian safety.

The Personnel Department is responsible for a variety of functions that support employees, retirees, and departments. This includes recruitment, benefits, employee relations, learning, and development.

The Department supports Vision Zero by assisting with the implementation of policies and trainings to ensure that staff who drive, bike, and walk for work-related purposes do so safely.

The Cambridge Police Department (CPD) uses community policing to decrease crime and improve the delivery of services to the community.

CPD supports Vision Zero by collecting and analyzing crash data. This data informs many aspects of work related to Vision Zero including where projects are implemented. CPD also uses these data sets to determine the location and time for traffic enforcement.

The Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD) strives to make it easier for people to improve their health and well-being by being physically active in their everyday life.

CPHD supports Vision Zero by leading and partnering on initiatives related to policy, education, and physical changes to the built environment that make getting around Cambridge healthy, safe, and accessible for all.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for maintaining and improving the City's street network through planning, capital construction, scheduled maintenance, and emergency response.

DPW supports Vision Zero by implementing safety improvements as a part of roadway reconstruction work, and ensuring that contractors working on projects adhere to safety standards.

The Purchasing Department is responsible for the City’s centralized procurement processes.

The Department supports Vision Zero by procuring goods and services, including construction and design services, for the implementation of projects, policies, and programs. The Department also ensures that the City's procurements comply with relevant laws, ordinances, and best practices.

The Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department (TP+T) oversees quick-build project implementation, traffic operations, and public parking.

TP+T supports Vision Zero by actively promoting walking, bicycling, and transit; and working closely with other City departments to plan, review, and implement projects that make it safer to travel in Cambridge.

Page was posted on 8/12/2021 3:45 PM
Page was last modified on 3/6/2024 4:58 PM
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