Vision Zero

Updated: March 1, 2024

Introducing the MLK Jr. Way S Corridor Signal Synchronization Pilot

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Sound Transit (ST) are conducting a study to test a method to synchronize signal lights and light rail timings along Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Way S. If successful, this will boost efficiency and safety for all travelers while keeping light rail trains on time. The pilot will be conducted in three phases.

Phase one will begin in the early morning on Sunday, March 3, 2024 (before regular light rail service). Phases two and three will depend on the data collected before and after implementation to evaluate the impact and make future adjustments. Learn more about the pilot program.

The Vision Zero Top-to-Bottom Review is now available

Click here to read the report and learn more about our review and next steps.

What is Vision Zero?

It's Seattle's plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

It’s also an international street safety movement, a shift in thinking and in how we approach transportation safety – pushing us toward the most effective ways to reduce harm and move toward a culture of care and dignity for everyone who uses Seattle’s streets. We launched Vision Zero in 2015 and continue to evolve our approach based on best practices and in service of the City’s equally aggressive and important climate action and racial equity goals.

Vision Zero's primary goal is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Vision Zero's equity goal is to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equality.

Vision Zero's climate change goal is to see 90% of personal trips be zero emission by 2030.

Key Principles

In addition to the goal itself, Vision Zero comes with several grounding principles that guide our work:

  • Traffic deaths and injuries are preventable 
  • Humans make mistakes and are fragile
  • Success does not hinge on individual behavior, but on the design of a safe system

Designing a Safe System

While Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, we still see more than 10,000 crashes a year, resulting in an average of 28 people losing their lives and nearly 180 people seriously injured. These are our friends, neighbors, and family members.

Traffic collisions aren't accidents. We intentionally do not use the word “accident” (instead we say crash or collision) as it tends to imply that nothing could have been done to prevent it. Crashes are preventable and often occur as the result of the way our transportation system has been designed – for the fast, uninterrupted movement of vehicles.

For us to reach Vision Zero, we have to rethink, and in many ways, undo that design. We’re working to encourage slower speeds, reduce conflict points between travelers, and center the safety of the most vulnerable travelers. When we say most vulnerable, we mean people who are not protected by a vehicle – people walking, rolling (using a wheelchair or other mobility device), biking, scooting, or riding a motorcycle.

Learn more about the Safe System approach. 

What’s Happening

Safe Streets and Roads for All grant

We submitted a competitive application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program, funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This new grant program highlights the USDOT’s commitment to advancing what’s called the Safe System approach – a model that emphasizes roadway design and slower vehicle speeds as critical to achieving Vision Zero. 

The projects included in our application help advance these safety goals, while also centering equity to serve our most disadvantaged and disinvested communities. Read the full proposal.

Slow the Flock Down Campaign

Hey Seattle! It’s time to slow the flock down. We’ve made great strides in reducing speed limits citywide, are continuing to redesign streets to lower vehicle speeds, and now we need your help. You’ll see billboards, bus ads, yard signs, and more reminding people that slowing down saves lives. Read more about the new campaign on our blog.

A blue sign featuring graphic yellow Goldfinch birds, a speed limit sign, and text that reads: "Slow the flock down. Save a life. Drive 25."

This education campaign is made possible thanks to a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Recent Presentations

We provide program updates to a number of boards and committees to share progress on Vision Zero efforts. Take a look at some of our recent presentations below:

Vision Zero in the news: designing a safe system for people.

We wanted to highlight a couple local and national stories that are bringing attention to the ongoing public health crisis that is traffic death and injury, and the solutions we’re aiming to move toward.  

Proactive investments

In February 2020, we released phase 2 of our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Analysis to look at bicycle and pedestrian incident trends. This tool helps us proactively make safety enhancements across the city. This groundbreaking approach helps us prioritize locations, anticipate issues, and make decisions informed by data. In 2022, we’ll kick off a 3rd phase of this analysis, with a greater emphasis on equity.

More About Vision Zero


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.