Vision Zero is a road safety concept that was originally developed by the Swedish Road Traffic Administration in the mid-1990s, based on principles from occupational safety. The aim of Vision Zero is to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the roads to a minimum, ultimately to zero. This approach recognizes that people can make mistakes and that the traffic system should tolerate and forgive these mistakes in order to prevent serious accident consequences.
In Germany, Vision Zero was adopted by the German Road Safety Council in 2007 as the basis for road safety work. Since then, it has become an integral part of traffic policy, with the aim of creating a safe traffic system that no longer results in fatalities or serious injuries. Vision Zero encompasses measures in various areas such as people and society, vehicles, road construction and legislation, and calls for the adaptation of regulations, laws and ordinances in order to increase safety for all road users. It builds on the principles of Vision Zero and calls for global cooperation to achieve the road safety goals.
Stockholm Conference on Vision Zero
The Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety by 2030 was adopted at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm in February 2020. Safe system approach: Both Vision Zero and the Stockholm Declaration promote a safe system approach that emphasizes the need for a holistic and integrated approach to road safety that takes into account the interaction between road users, vehicles and the road environment.
Comprehensive implementation of these steps can significantly contribute to achieving the Vision Zero goal and improving road safety at the city and national levels.
To further implement Vision Zero, around 35 associations, independent organizations and administrations in Berlin are involved in the Berlin Charter for Road Safety. These stakeholders are implementing numerous measures and innovative individual approaches to achieve the ambitious goals of Vision Zero.
The significance of Vision Zero for Germany is considerable. Vision Zero, originally a concept to prevent accidents at work, has developed into a fundamental strategy in the field of road safety in Germany. The aim is to have no fatalities or serious injuries on the roads by creating a safe traffic system. This requires an adaptation of regulations, laws and ordinances to ensure the safety of all road users.
In Germany, Vision Zero was adopted by the German Road Safety Council (DVR) in 2007 as the basis for road safety work. With the amendment of the Administrative Regulation on Road Traffic Regulations (VwV-StVO) in 2021, Vision Zero was incorporated into traffic law, underlining the importance of this concept in the German traffic system.
In Germany, many associations, organizations and authorities are committed to implementing Vision Zero. The focus of all measures is on people and their safety. The Vision Zero philosophy – no traffic accidents resulting in death or serious personal injury – is now a central component of German transport policy and influences the design of transport infrastructure, road safety education and technical and organizational measures to increase road safety.
While European roads are the safest in the world, with 44 road deaths per one million inhabitants, there is no room for complacency. In 2021, an estimated 19 800 people lost their lives on EU roads. The number of deaths and injuries is a significant source of concern and entails considerable economic costs. This is why the EU has pledged to achieve zero road fatalities by 2050. “Vision Zero” is the EU’s strategy for reaching this reduction over the coming decades. This includes setting out key performance indicators relating to the main road safety challenges to be tackled, namely: