Why is this goal important?
Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country. Over the past decade we've seen a general decline in traffic fatalities, however distracted driving is an emerging concern which is largely responsible for a recent uptick in both fatalities and serious injury collisions. Traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for Seattle residents aged 5-24. Older adults are also disproportionately affected, and as our population ages, this trend could grow. In 2016, there were 167 police-reported serious injury collisions in Seattle and 21 fatalities occurred. This is unacceptable.
We can do better. At the core of the worldwide Vision Zero movement is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. For the most part, these aren't "accidents". Collisions are often the result of poor behaviors and unforgiving roadway designs. So we must approach the problem from multiple angles — street designs that emphasize safety, predictability, and the potential for human error, coupled with targeted education and data-driven enforcement.
How do we measure this goal?
This goal is measured on an annual basis and represents the number of fatalities resulting from collisions on Seattle's streets. The numbers do not reflect incidents on limited access State Highways and Interstates, but do include incidents on the Alaska Way Viaduct.
What progress are we making toward this goal?
The near term trend for traffic-related fatalities and serious-injury collisions in Seattle showed a steady decrease from the early 2000's until 2015. This has been followed by a slight uptick in 2016, largely due to increasing distracted driving (and distracted walking) incidents. Note that the chart to the right shows this trend and uses a 5-year rolling average to normalize the effect of year to year volatility.