Lessons from Sweden’s Vision Zero
The number of cars in use in Sweden, and the number of miles driven has doubled since 1970. Yet the number of road deaths has fallen by four-fifths over this same period.
Sweden’s roads are the safest in the world, and places such as New York are trying to replicate its success. But how have they achieved this?
- They had a Vision and a Goal – “Vision Zero” to be precise – which an aligned Parliament wrote into law pledging to eliminate road fatalities and injuries.
- They had a Plan – meticulous plans in fact – where road building was focused on safety over speed and convenience; from safer crossings and lower speed limits through to new “2+1” roads where each lane of traffic takes turns to use a middle lane for overtaking.
- They then introduced Alerts & Alarms with strict policing, and constantly measured the results to see the impact, and to learn lessons.
- They’re willing to push boundaries and ask the right questions; they know they cannot wipe out human error so are running a “driverless car” pilot with Volvo this year.
Will Sweden ever reach its “Vision Zero” goal? Who knows. But what this does show is:
(a) Having a focused vision, with an aligned team working to a plan, with a way to measure and improve works.
(b) Once you have a proven model, only then should it be replicated.