One Good Reason Why Traffic Fatality Rates in the US Should Finally Stop Rising

Vision Zero has been embraced by many countries that are working towards lowering traffic fatalities and serious injuries, despite population growth and more cars using the roads. The global movement is gaining momentum, so it’s surprising to see that certain regions still have road fatality goals that are increasing. With new safety technologies available, why would states in the USA be raising their fatality rate targets?

It helps to understand how fatality rates are determined. In the US, states are required to set performance measures for traffic deaths according to two sections of the federal highway law. The provisions require states to set performance goals that are data-driven and to consider factors such as population growth and the number of miles driven. Safety groups argue that this has led to states increasing traffic fatality goals from year to year. Neither provision specifies that the goals had to result in fewer deaths. 

The good news is that a new infrastructure law recently passed that required states to set highway safety plans that demonstrate constant or improved performance. This new law is signalling a change in the thinking that highway traffic deaths are unavoidable. For many years, policies have focused on getting from one place to another quickly rather than safely. 

With today's innovative technologies available, there is no reason why all levels of government shouldn't prioritize improving safety and reducing road fatalities.  Lidar and AI-based perception software are replacing older methods of capturing traffic data so that intersections can be monitored even during adverse weather conditions or at night, times when accidents are more likely to occur. Lidar-based sensors can provide real-time multimodal data about all road users, from pedestrians to buses. What’s more, new AI capabilities are making the analysis of the data easier and more predictive.  States can now focus on both safety and efficiency with improved decision-making that is based on accurate, reliable data. 

It's clear that no one wants to increase traffic fatalities and that the states were simply trying to follow the law. All levels of government should be adopting technology that helps improve traffic flow while reducing the risk of accidents. More efficient traffic flow also has the benefit of lowering air pollution. With the new infrastructure law, states may end up setting more aggressive goals which will only help achieve Vision Zero. 

Bluecity, for one, is thrilled to see this new federal amendment to the provisions. The company is committed to making streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists with its lidar-based multimodal traffic platform. It is powered by artificial intelligence and provides ATSPM analytics. It’s the type of technology that can improve intersection efficiency at the same time as lowering the number of accidents.  To learn more about the Bluecity platform, visit our website

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