Last year, the United States experienced the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities since 2005, and the largest annual percentage increase ever recorded. This truly is a “crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” as U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. And all levels of government are acknowledging that traffic deaths are preventable.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released updated statistics showing a continued increasing trend in roadway fatalities and serious injuries through 2021. NHTSA projects an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States last year. As with 2020, NHTSA again found that all 10 of its regions saw increases in traffic deaths, with 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico seeing increases.
Vision Zero is a nationwide initiative involving more than 45 communities that have set a goal to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while ensuring safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. NHTSA has attributed recent increases in motor vehicle fatalities to driver behavior. The Vision Zero approach calls for system designers and policymakers to improve the roadway environment to accommodate human failing.
Velodyne’s Intelligent Infrastructure Solution (IIS) is being deployed to support Vision Zero and roadway safety initiatives around the globe. Austin, Texas is one such Vision Zero community. The City of Austin has included IIS in its approach to understanding and eliminating traffic deaths.
The City is using IIS in a pilot project to assess traffic conditions and identify proactive safety measures that can be taken to help improve safety and save lives. It has been deployed at an intersection identified as needing improvement due to the accident history, fatality risk, speeding prevalence and congestion.
With passage of the Infrastructure Bill, the Federal Government is managing a historic investment to help communities upgrade their transportation systems. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced $1 billion in competitive grants for communities to build Vision Zero programs. The Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program will fund local and state government initiatives that seek to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. The grants can be used to fund new action plans, expand existing plans, and implement plan activities.
The Department will also administer a grant program to fund intelligent sensor-based transportation infrastructure upgrades, expected for release later this year.
These initiatives can include communities deploying innovative technology solutions, such as IIS, to gather the traffic data to understand why they are experiencing roadway collisions and fatalities.
Velodyne is committed to providing a data-driven approach to roadway safety, through real-time Surrogate Safety Analysis of all road users. IIS is helping communities understand root causes of near-miss collisions, red light running, and different types of vulnerable road user behavior.
Communities can use the data collected to diagnose, and then solve the problems uncovered. IIS provides advanced tools to help transportation and city officials plan for and invest in a safer, more sustainable and equitable traffic network. We welcome collaboration with local and state governments in their planning to drive fatalities to zero.
For more information on how Velodyne can work with your organization on Vision Zero initiatives, contact Velodyne HERE.
To learn about our Intelligent Infrastructure Solution and how it helps communities gather the data they need to better understand the problems in their road and pedestrian infrastructure, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6OmiMzpdjo