Caltrans has vision of eliminating serious injuries, deaths on California roadways by 2050

Pedestrian safety
Mark Prado

Caltrans this week unveiled a new policy on road safety which commits the department to the Safe System approach and reaffirms the vision of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries on state highways by 2050.

California and the rest of the nation are seeing an increase in fatalities and serious injuries on the roadways. In California, more than 3,600 people die each year in traffic crashes and more than 13,000 people are severely injured. More than 3,200 people died on the state’s roadways in the first nine months of 2021 – a 17% increase from the previous year, the agency noted.

To address this trend, Caltrans is aligning with the Safe System approach, which identifies several interconnected elements to achieving a vision of zero fatalities and serious injuries – safe road users, safe roads, safe speeds, safe vehicles, and post-crash care.

"Caltrans is fully committing to a fundamental shift in road safety and is laying the framework for significant reductions in roadway deaths and injuries," said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. "With the numbers of serious injuries and deaths trending the wrong way, now is the time to focus even more on what we can do to save lives and work collaboratively with other stakeholders who play a role in roadway safety."

The state’s 2020-24 Strategic Highway Safety Plan – managed by Caltrans and involving more than 400 stakeholders – was updated to include the Safe System approach. For more information about Caltrans’ new safety guidelines, visit its Safety Program webpage.  

Safety is also top of mind at MTC. The MTC-led Vision Zero Working Group met for the first time last year to exchange ideas on how to make the Bay Area a safer place for pedestrians, bicyclists and others.

MTC has adopted a regional Safety/Vision Zero policy and has begun development on a Regional Integrated Safety Data System to provide jurisdictions with a consistent source of data and tools for conducting safety analyses and informing their safety plans and projects. More information on the Vision Zero Working Group can be found here.


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