Reducing Taxi Fares When Drivers Speed, and 62 Other Proposals in the Vision Zero Report


Within a three block radius of P.S. 75, the school where Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday delivered details for his plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities in New York City, three pedestrians have been struck and killed by cars this year. No charges have been filed against the drivers (one was issued a ticket for “Failure to Yield”), but the NYPD has deployed officers to ticket jaywalkers in the area… and, in the process, bloodied an 84-year-old man confused about why he was being stopped.

…Which is all to say the mayor had a lot of work to do to show the city he is serious about addressing its rising pedestrian casualty rate. On Tuesday, de Blasio rolled out 63 policy goals designed to prove precisely that.

Among the report’s proposals is one that would reduce fares for passengers when taxi drivers speed. That suggestion could make a big difference for cyclists — one study found that 40 percent of cyclists injured on New York streets were struck by cabs. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ — whose garbage trucks are some of the most dangerous on city streets — promised to outfit its fleets with back-up cameras, as well as technology to record speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors.

Implementing many of the 63 goals — suggested by the heads of the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services — will not only require cooperation among city agencies, but a concerted lobbying effort at the state level.

Several proposals will require authorization from Albany before they can be realized here, like installing red light and speed cameras, and lowering the citywide speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25.

The most promising and specific goals on the list came from departments of transportation and citywide administrative services. The NYPD, meanwhile, appeared to backtrack on previous promises, and promise to do things they’ve previously claimed to have already done.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton scaled down the pledge he made as recently as one month ago to increase the highway division — the unit charged with enforcing traffic laws — to 280 officers. Instead, the report promises just 263 officers. Likewise, in the report, the NYPD pledges its Collision Investigation Squad will expand to investigate all crashes with critical injuries, a practice that the NYPD officers have said for almost a full year they are already doing. The report does not promise to increase the number of officers on the extremely small squad charged with investigating collisions.

See also: It’s Too Easy to Kill Pedestrians in New York City

(On a more encouraging note, Bratton made an about-face on his statement in January that 73 percent of pedestrians were responsible for crashes; on Tuesday he said, “70 percent of incidents involving pedestrian fatalities involve the issue of speed or failure to yield.”)

Here are all 63 proposals, subdivided by the agency tasked with making each happen.

City Hall

1. Establish a permanent Vision Zero task force in the Mayor’s Office of Operations

2. Launch a Vision Zero website to gather input from New Yorkers and coordinate information about the City’s Vision Zero plans, upcoming events and provide data

3. Conduct Vision Zero presentations across the City

4. Publish crash and safety data on a regular basis in user-friendly format(s)

5. Partner with industry groups and vehicle manufacturers to educate fleet drivers and explore design changes to their automotive fleets

6. Lead a state legislative campaign to give the City the power over the placement of speed and red-light cameras, the power to reduce the citywide speed limit to 25mph, and
to increase the penalties associated with dangerous driver behavior

Police Department

7. Increase enforcement against dangerous moving violations, including speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, signal violations, improper turns/disobeying signage, and phoning/texting while driving

8. Increase speeding enforcement at the precinct level

9. Purchase advanced speed detection equipment (LIDAR guns), upgrade speed detection technology available to precincts and train additional personnel

10. Increase the Highway Unit to 263 personnel

11. Expand Collision Investigation Squad cases to encompass all crashes with critical injuries.

12. Modify precinct-level traffic plans to increase focus on pedestrian

13. Update technology for capturing crash data

14. Enhance training for officers to better record and preserve crash details and site evidence

15. Broaden recruiting efforts for School Crossing Guards

Police Department +Department of Transportation

16. Conduct intensive street-level outreach and enforcement on safety problems and traffic laws, focused in areas with known crash histories

17. Convene monthly meetings of the DOT Traffic Division and the NYPD Transportation Bureau to review traffic safety performance and set strategy for improvement

18. Develop data-driven citywide enforcement strategy

19. Develop borough-wide safety plans in close coordination with community boards, community organizations, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit

20. Conduct targeted outreach in 500 schools each year, educating students about protecting themselves as safe pedestrians and working with their families for safer school zones

Department of Transportation

21. Implement safety engineering improvements at 50 intersections and corridors

22. Create 25 new arterial slow zones

23. Implement 8 new neighborhood slow zones

24. Install speed cameras at 20 new authorized locations

25. Install 250 speed bumps, including in neighborhood slow zones

26. Enhance street lighting at 1,000 intersections

27. Enhance maintenance of street markings

28. Install traffic signals where needed for speed control via coordinated arterial signal time

29. Additional street reconstruction safety projects

30. Survey national and international best practices to expand potential strategies

31. Hold workshops for major street design projects

32. Undertake a high-quality ad campaign aimed at reducing speeding, failure-to-yield and other
forms of reckless driving

33. Increase extent of “Choices” anti-DWI campaign

34. Double number of programmable speed boards for intensive education/enforcement initiative

35. Make effective, age-appropriate safety curriculum available to schools throughout the city

36. Partner with senior centers to increase communication and get specific feedback from aging New Yorkers about street safety improvements

37. Increase the number and visibility of hands-on safety demonstrations

38. Add safety flyers and messaging in DOT mailings such as Alternate Side Parking regulations and construction permits

Department of Transportation + Taxi & Limousine Commission

39. Issue summonses to TLC drivers identified by red light cameras (in addition to summonses currently issued to vehicle owners)

40. Update taxi school to account for new streetscape features and alert drivers to higher-crash street types

Taxi & Limousine Commission

41. Create TLC safety enforcement squad, equipped with speed radar equipment, to enforce speed and safety regulations

42. Pilot program to place black box data recorders in TLC-licensed vehicles

43. Implement more comprehensive, taxi-specific, driving curriculum for initial licensees

44. Pursue requirement of additional behind-the-wheel driving instruction for drivers involved in frequent crashes, and continued driver safety education

45. Pilot technology that alerts passengers and drivers that they are traveling over the speed limit

46. Explore in-car technology that limits vehicle speed, warns drivers of impending collisions, or that reduces the fare when the driver speeds

47. Introduce street safety PSAs on Taxi TV

48. Use driver information monitors to send safety reminders to taxi drivers

49. Add safety flyers and messaging in TLC mailings to drivers

50. Include left turn reminder stickers in TLC licensed vehicles

51. Create publicly accessible “Honor Roll” of safe TLC drivers

52. Enhance enforcement against drivers offering for-hire service without TLC license

53. Explore vehicle design requirements to improve safety

54. Pursue City law changes and new TLC rules to increase sanctions on TLC drivers who engage in dangerous behavior

Department of Citywide Administrative Services

55. Ensure all City fleet vehicles are equipped with technology that record speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors, by the end of 2014

56. Upgrade the collision tracking system for the citywide fleet through the new NYC Fleet Focus fleet system

57. Oversee a citywide expansion of Defensive Driver training courses for all employees driving City vehicles

58. Recommend safety related devices and designs, such as high visibility vehicles, back-up cameras, and rear wheel side guards, for City vehicles and other vehicles under City regulation

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

59. Conduct public health surveillance on traffic-related hospitalizations and fatalities

60. Provide Vision Zero task force with public health data to help target traffic safety interventions

61. Include traffic fatalities and injuries and prevention messages in public health reports

62. Engage community public health partners in promoting Vision Zero goals

63. Promote research on walking, driving, motorcycling, and bicycling behaviors and patterns in the city

Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart