Past decisions to divide communities in order to construct a roadway system under the guise of advancing communities has forced generations of community members to be without adequate and safe access to work, medical care, leisure, school and other community services. Intentional and sustainable changes must be made to reconnect these communities to improve both safety and quality of life.
Equity: Infrastructure should meet the needs of all who use it, regardless of modality.
All road users should have the ability to access, and safely use our streets and roads regardless of race, color, economic status, disability, or other protected class. Our roadway system needs to be designed so that it is safe and so that it takes all users' different needs into account regardless of the mode of travel they choose.
Accessibility: Using our roadway system should be a safe and dignified act.
Access to the roadway system for users with disabilities has not been equitable or safe. Making roadways accessible will require improvements to infrastructure and in transportation design and policy. We all know people – in our families or communities who face the challenges of living with disabilities, thinking about them and remembering their experiences in navigating transportation should guide policy making, planning and engineering.
Trust: Society works best when we can take everyday functions and services for granted, like usage of our roadway system.
Trust, often unseen, is indispensable for a healthy, functioning society. All those using our roadway system regardless if individually, publicly or privately operated, must be able to trust that safety regulations will be enforced, and gaps in regulations will be identified and addressed. Users should also be able to trust that others will follow the existing regulations to keep them safe.
Education: Educating the next generation of road users will make for a safer future.
For a population of safe users to exist within a safe system, they must all have the same knowledge of road safety. Road user education should exist and be accessible for all users, and not limited to drivers. Education should start in elementary school, an age when behaviors are best ingrained, and more likely to become life-long.
Focus: Users of a safe system should always be focused on the task at hand, be it driving, walking, rolling or biking.
Focusing on creating a generational change in culture can also motivate users to reduce or eliminate unsafe behaviors, such as distracted driving. However, a well-designed, and safe system should be focused around the understanding that people will make mistakes and also have unsafe behaviors. Properly designed safety measures make sure that human fallibility does not lead to human fatalities.
Awareness: The world continues to move, and we must actively pay attention.
To keep ourselves and others safe, road users must be aware of their environment at all times, and be prepared to take evasive action when necessary.
Roundabouts: The safest road design that exists for all users is a roundabout.
Roundabouts lower speeds and reduce kinetic energy and kinetic energy transfer in a crash, and therefore are critical to having safe roads in a safe system. Compared to other intersections, crashes are reduced for all users in a roundabout and fatal crashes are reduced the most, particularly for vulnerable road users. Roundabouts save lives.
Empathy: We are all a part of a diverse and complex community, and we all need to get somewhere.
As we travel through life, we should be more conscious of those traveling alongside us. Where they are going, how they are getting there, and why they are traveling in the first place. If we see one another as individuals worthy of empathy, we will all be more likely to make it to our destination safely.
Joy: Amid the great challenge we have accepted, let us be joyful.
In this time of great opportunity and change, let us remember to be fueled by joy. When we contribute to improving the safety of our system, we may take the role of planner, designer, builder, or traveler. Each of us plays an essential role in these times of change, and each of us is essential in spreading the joy.