Vision Zero

Vision Zero

The City of Charlotte has always placed strong emphasis on a safe transportation system for all users. This drives our every decision. We believe it’s our collective responsibility to create safe travel for all.

Across the globe, Vision Zero is saving and protecting lives. Vision Zero started in Sweden in 1997. It’s a strategy to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries, while increasing safety, health and mobility for all. Vision Zero focuses on how people naturally behave. People make mistakes but mistakes should not be fatal.

​Over the past ten years our city has seen explosive population growth, adding close to 200,000 more drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to our streets, paths and intersections. Charlotte has responded by creating a variety of safe ways for people to move around the city and connect with each other – we’ve upgraded intersections, added more bike lanes and built additional sidewalks – as we continue to work towards the best possible transportation and pedestrian safety systems for our growing city.

In 2017, drivers in Charlotte logged more than 23 million miles on our streets, up nearly a million miles from the year before. While the number of crashes in our city actually decreased by 4% compared to 2016, the number of fatalities from those crashes increased by 35% in 2017.

Crashes and fatalities not only take a toll on human life, but also on the city’s capital – affecting loved ones, health care facilities, businesses and many other areas of our community.

That’s why Charlotte is renewing its commitment to safer streets in 2018 with the creation of Vision Zero, an action plan designed to reduce crashes and eliminate traffic-related deaths and severe injuries by 2030. Why? Because even one traffic-related death is too many.

​As a community, it's our responsibility to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries for all who share Charlotte streets by 2030.

The following principles recognize this belief and will guide the actions and performance measures of Charlotte’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

  1. Traffic deaths and severe injuries are preventable and unacceptable.
  2. Protecting human lives takes priority over all other objectives of the road system.
  3. The transportation system should be designed so mistakes are not fatal.
  4. Solutions must be collaborative, equitable and data-driven.
  5. Safety on our streets is everyone’s responsibility.
  6. Our community is accountable for implementing the Vision Zero Action Plan, measuring performance and responding accordingly.

​For additional information, visit the Vision Zero Task Force page to see what agencies have joined Charlotte's Vision Zero initiative: Vision Zero Task Force



Hi, I'm Will Washam, and I'm the Bicycle Program Coordinator for the City of Charlotte's Department of Transportation. I'm going to share the Charlotte Department of Transportation or CDOT's work to advance the city's Vision Zero pledge made in 2018.

These are all of the crashes that occurred in the city of Charlotte from 2015 to 2019. Visualizing the data in this manner makes it difficult to identify the places where the most serious and even fatal crashes are occurring. This map shows the crashes within that same time frame that resulted in deaths and serious injuries. 733 fatal and serious injury crashes occurred between 2015 and 2019. Fatal traffic crashes accounted for 307 of the 733 crashes shown on your screen.

To better identify streets where fatal and serious injury crashes occur, we mapped a High Injury Network or HIN. The HIN makes up just 9 percent of the total street network. 64 percent on thoroughfares, 15 percent on collectors and 21 percent on local streets. After the HIN was completed, our traffic safety unit began public input to develop Charlotte's Vision Zero Action Plan. The public was able to add comments to an online map highlighting safety issues on the streets in their neighborhoods. This gave us a sense of common problems across the city such as cars not yielding for pedestrians and speeding.

During the development of the Charlotte Vision Zero Action Plan, we conducted extensive community engagement. Community engagement included over 25 community events, over 2,000 conversations about traffic safety and over 1,600 comments on an interactive map. Charlotte's Vision Zero Action Plan relies on a collaborative approach that focused on equity and engagement to complement the in-depth analysis of fatal and serious injury crash data. The development process took place over seven months and in January of 2019, the action plan was finalized.

The stakeholder steering committee for the Vision Zero Action Plan represents a wide range of organizations including law enforcement, transit agencies, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, local hospital systems and many more. We use the HIN to identify locations for pedestrian, bike and other safety improvements. Once improvements are identified, they may be funded by any number of capital improvement programs. 22 improved pedestrian crossings were installed in 2021 alone.

We've also used the HIN to identify corridors where enforcement can be focused to help address the goals of Vision Zero. This allows the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department or CMPD to focus their patrols in areas where they will have the highest impact on reducing speeding and dangerous driving behaviors. Oftentimes, engineering solutions to reducing speed on a HIN corridor involve reducing the number of motor vehicle lanes. 6th street through Uptown Charlotte was on the original High Injury Network and now has a two-way cycle track in place of the third motor vehicle lane.

The HIN has been used to identify priority locations for upgrading street lights to LEDs from high-pressure sodium lamps. 51 street segments along the HIN are currently being programmed for street lighting upgrades. 25 schools were identified in the Vision Zero Action Plan as fronting streets along the High Injury Network. In 2021, CDOT completed a Safe Routes to School Plan with recommendations for safety improvements at five of those schools. The identified projects are included in the city's various capital improvement programs. For funding, Charlotte has many four-lane arterials with long distances between crossing opportunities for pedestrians. Vision Zero is providing a renewed focus on identifying engineering solutions to improve these corridors for our most vulnerable street users.

Five corridor studies are underway to provide guidance for future pedestrian safety improvements. Leading Pedestrian Intervals or LPIs are allowing pedestrians to begin crossing an intersection before vehicle traffic providing greater visibility for our vulnerable street users. LPIs are not new to Charlotte, but we've doubled down on their implementation by installing LPIs at 31 new intersections in 2021. In our quest for Vision Zero by 2030, CDOT is encouraging new design philosophies and construction techniques. This includes pilot projects for intersection safety such as slow turn wedges for motor vehicles at intersections.

Using the High Injury Network data, CMPD conducted 50 traffic safety enforcement events in 2021. These enforcement events targeted unsafe driving conditions on corridors with a history of bicycle and pedestrian traffic crashes. CDOT has recently begun using a new application to house our geo-located crash data. Staff from CDOT and CMPD can use this analysis tool to identify crash trends in their respective parts of the city. These new tools continue to improve our Vision Zero efforts.

CDOT's capital improvement programs now use the High Injury Network in all project prioritization processes. This prioritizes delivering multimodal projects which directly improve safety conditions on our streets. These programs include the Pedestrian Program, the Bicycle Program and the Street Lighting Program.

Vision Zero has galvanized a myriad of partner agencies in Charlotte around a community-wide goal of reducing the number of fatalities on our streets to zero. CDOT will continue to lead our community towards this goal and we're excited to be a part of the growing network of Vision Zero Communities in North Carolina. For more information, visit charlottenc.gov/VisionZero. You can also email CLTVisionZero@charlottenc.gov with your questions.


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Contacts

Project Manager:

Community Coordinator:


​The City of Charlotte is establishing a Task Force to develop a plan a Vision Zero Action Plan. Below are the organizations represented on the task force. Stay tuned for more information as the plan develops.

            Vision Zero Task Force
Anuvia
Atrium Health Care Injury Prevention Center
​Charlotte AARP
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)
Charlotte Communications & Marketing
Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT)
​Charlotte District Attorney's Office
Charlotte Fire Department
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)
CMS - Driver Education
Charlotte Planning, Design & Development
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)
CMPD - Victim Services
Charlotte Office of Data Analytics  
​Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO)
​Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) / NC Vision Zero
Mecklenburg County Public Health
Mecklenburg County Sherriff's Office
Mecklenburg Transportation Alliance
​MeckRolls
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)
Sustain Charlotte

Vision Zero Interactive Map 

Interactive Map

Get Involved! We want to hear from you! Check out the interactive map, put a pin on it and share your experience on Charlotte's streets whether driving, walking or cycling.


Enforcement Focus Areas Map 

Enforcement Focus Areas Map

The Enforcement Focus Area Map focuses on areas for targeted enforcement. Learn more about the Enforcement Area Streets.CMPD uses serious injury and fatal crash data to conduct enforcement targeting speeding, seatbelt use, driving while impaired and distracted driving.