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Vision Zero and Safety

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Over 35,000 people die in traffic crashes across the U.S. every year, by far the highest rate of any industrialized country. An increasing percentage of these deaths are of people walking and biking in urban areas.

Building capacity for cities to design safer streets is a core tenet of NACTO’s mission. Through creating opportunities for peer exchange and by developing guidance to foster safer streets, NACTO’s Vision Zero and Safety peer network supports city staff who are committed to reducing traffic fatalities on their roads. The traffic fatality rate across NACTO cities is half what it is in the U.S. as a whole. But more needs to be done to bring it down to the only acceptable level on our streets: zero.

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Safety Priorities

NACTO’s safety work encompasses a variety of issues that shape our transportation systems. Click the links below to learn more about our current focus areas.



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NACTO Publications

City Limits

NACTO’s guidance gives practitioners a detailed, context-sensitive method to set safe speed limits on urban streets. Using the safe systems approach, the guidance provides a consistent, rational, scalable approach to urban speed limit setting, from citywide strategies to corridor-by-corridor methods based on easy-to-study street characteristics.

Urban Street Design Guide

A blueprint for designing 21st century streets, the Urban Street Design Guide charts how North America’s foremost engineers, planners, and designers work to improve streets in their cities and showcases the tools and tactics cities use to make streets safer, more livable, and more economically vibrant.

Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Developed by and for cities, the Urban Bikeway Design Guide outlines state-of-the-practice solutions that can help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists.

Designing for All Ages & Abilities

This guidance builds on NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide and sets an All Ages & Abilities criteria for selecting and implementing bike facilities.  It considers contextual factors on streets, allows planners and engineers to determine when, where, and how to best combine traffic calming tools with roadway design changes to reduce traffic fatalities and increase cycling rates and rider comfort.

Don’t Give Up at the Intersection

Expands on the NACTO’s Urban Bikeway Design Guide, adding detailed guidance on intersection design treatments that reduce vehicle-bike and vehicle-pedestrian conflicts, including protected bike intersections, dedicated bike intersections, and minor street crossings, as well as signalization strategies to reduce conflicts and increase comfort and safety.

Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments

A joint release with the U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments is a pair of in-depth reports that detail the effects of vehicle design on street safety, and the opportunities that public agencies have to reduce traffic fatalities with improved vehicle design.