Anyone living in a major city understands the burden of traffic and its negative effect on quality of life. An increasing number of urban dwellers are turning to walking and cycling as a healthier, “greener” solution to improving urban livability.
Yet, in many cities across the United States, the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists remain risky. Cities have historically been built for motorists, not pedestrians or cyclists, and the road space that motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are required to share has quickly become very crowded — resulting in higher risk of accidents and fatalities.
In the U.S., 40,000 people lose their lives in traffic crashes every year, a far higher rate than other high-income nations. Last year was a turning point when data from the National Safety Council showed that an estimated 42 thousand people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, a year that mainly consisted of lockdowns and quarantining due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That marked an 8% increase over 2019 in a year when people drove significantly less.
As a longtime sponsor for urban safety, mobility equity and sustainability, 3M looked to combine efforts with an organization championing these three goals. 3M is excited to announce its sponsorship of the Vision Zero Network, a national nonprofit working towards the shared goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries and ensuring safe, equitable mobility for all. Through the sponsorship, 3M is committed to providing an annual contribution to support the Vision Zero Network’s efforts to improve road safety across the U.S.
“Now more than ever, action is needed to reduce traffic fatalities in urban centers,” said Dr. Daniel Chen, Vice President, 3M Transportation Safety Division. “Our investment in the Vision Zero Network creates a very important alliance to jointly address urban mobility equity issues.”
From coast to coast, the Vision Zero Network unites local leaders in health, traffic engineering, policy and advocacy to develop and share strategies, policies and practices that advance safe mobility. More than 45 communities across the U.S. have committed to Vision Zero, with many others working toward the commitment (map).
3M and the Vision Zero Network have a shared goal of preventing traffic fatalities by designing roads and implementing polices with safety as the top priority. With more than 80 years of engineering traffic safety products, 3M is in a unique position to help. Products such as reflective sheeting for traffic signs, road markings for pavement and delineators for pedestrian and cyclist protection improve visibility and advance road safety throughout city infrastructure. 3M is committed to helping city planners and traffic engineers build safer streets with these products.
“Moving about our communities – whether walking to school, biking to a park, or driving to work – should be safe for everyone,” said Leah Shahum, founder and Executive Director of the Vision Zero Network. “We are excited about our relationship with 3M because we share the goal of safe mobility for all, and we welcome 3M’s innovative approach to safe streets, sidewalks and bikeways for all.”
3M also recently signed on to support the National Safety Council’s Call on President Biden to Commit to Zero Traffic Deaths, a letter campaign urging the Administration to prioritize safety and commit to the Vision Zero goal. The campaign has drawn more than 1,700 supporters.