The streets of New York City are getting a Scandinavian makeover to be safer for pedestrians. Mayor Bill De Blasio has taken inspiration from Sweden's Vision Zero law, which has as it's goal the eradication of roadway deaths. He is bringing many of its concepts to the Big Apple.

Sweden's 1997 law stipulates that no one is should die in an accident on the country's roads, and the government should do whatever it can to make things safer. Its methods have been drastic, but they have worked. While some streets in Stockholm now have speed limits below 20 miles per hour, the country boasts the lowest rate of traffic deaths in the world. According to The New York Times, 264 people died on the highways in all of Sweden last year, compared to 290 in just New York City. The road mortality rate in Stockholm is about a third of NYC.

De Blasio created his own Vision Zero Action Plan in February with 2024 as a goal to eradicate traffic deaths, and he is consulting with Swedes on how to do it. The first portions of the plan are already going into effect. According to NYT, new rules are slowing vehicles in some areas to 25 mph, down from 30 mph. There are also 120 new speed cameras going up around schools in the city. Police will also be enforcing speeding more. The next steps may be putting data recorders in taxis, widening parking lanes and a possible congestion charge in certain parts of the metropolis.

While the complete eradication of deaths may never be possible, it seems like an admirable goal. New York's streets were already on the road to being safer. According to the NYT, traffic deaths have fallen 26 percent since 2001. De Blasio's plan hopes to accelerate that decline. Manhattan may never have the old-world charm of Stockholm, but its avenues could be just as safe.


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  • 51 Comments
      Mason
      • 7 Months Ago
      Does anyone remember the video of De Blasio's Suburbans running stop signs, speeding without having their light bars on and quickly weaving in and out of traffic? He needs to practice what he's preaching.
      Waz
      • 7 Months Ago
      Do you remember the movie I-Robot with Will Smith? "it is explained that the reason that the robots revolted was because the main computer VIKI explains that to save and protect humanity, it needed to take freedom from humanity." New York policy sounds a lot VIKI: no super sized drinks, cameras always watching, removal of freedom by a "nanny" gov't. Promoting individuals to take personal responsibility for their driving habits and choices on the road will also reduce fatalities, however, freedom would remain intact.
        tegdesign
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Waz
        I wish I could give more thumbs up. Favorite comment on AB of all time.
        mikeybyte1
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Waz
        Good point but how do you promote individuals to take personal responsibility? Serious question. Let me give you an example. I have a friend that lives in Ireland and when they go out for a night on the town they always take a cab. DUI laws in Ireland are pretty harsh and you can easily loose your license for 6 months to 6 years. That harsh law encourages good behavior. So what would be needed to make driving and walking in NYC safer?
      Fazzster
      • 7 Months Ago
      This may help too: 1. Eliminate rogue motorcycle gangs 2. Stop issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens (many are from 3rd world countries void of traffic rules)
        AC
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        But those aren't liberal policies - taking away our freedom is more in line with De Blasio's thinking. Doesn't matter that the cost will far outrun the benefit.
          fordskydog
          • 7 Months Ago
          @AC
          Really???? So taking away REAL freedoms wasn't on the previous mayor's agenda? AC, your politics are too black and white. Pull your head out and have a look around. It is not about liberal v conservative. It is about campaign contributions and lobbyists' money in politics. Let your kindergarten view evolve.
        SpikedLemon
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        Let me fix that for you: 1. Eliminate gangs 2. Stop issuing drivers licenses to poor drivers.
      FoxJ30
      • 7 Months Ago
      I don't know the actual statistics, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that some of the worst driving I've seen has come from cabbies. They veer in and out of lanes, run lights, sit in intersections, swipe parked cars, I've seen it all, including a hit and run on a cyclist (who was in a bike lane). Cracking down on bad cabby driving would do a lot, as would proper training - there's no point in doing jackrabbit starts and getting the car up to 50mph if the lights are timed for 25mph, idiot. Would not be opposed to speed enforcement on side streets, either. Single lane, one way traffic on residential cross streets doesn't need to hit 45mph.
      superlightv12
      • 7 Months Ago
      Nothing but another government money grab disguised as a safety law. All the cameras & lower speed limits & more enforcement only mean more revenue for the bloated bureaucracy that is New York government.
      fordskydog
      • 7 Months Ago
      "Police will also be enforcing speeding more." How about police not focusing solely on speeding and enforcing the broad spectrum of road laws we have on the books. Police focus almost solely on speeding. I think it is because it is easy. The radar gun gives them indisputable evidence and all they have to do is hide in the bushes to nab violators. I for one am sick and tired of it. I drive on roads with COMPLETE ZOMBIES. But as long as they aren't speeding it's as if they are completely untouchable, and seem to have a moral high ground over those who may occasionally drive faster than the speed limit and use speed as one of the many tools in their bag of defensive driving skills. There is a complete lack of situational awareness on our roads and it seems we don't care. I would rather be surrounded by aware, courteous speeders than by slow zombies who don't see the world around them farther than 10 feet from their windows or whos attention is captivated by 3 things above driving. 1. Educate - driver education is a farce here. 2. Practice - how many people surrounding you on the freeway do you think have ever practice swerving or panic stops in their own car? Yeah, about 0%. 3. Awareness - there is more to be aware of than your speed. Enforce ALL the laws.
      Jim R
      • 7 Months Ago
      Zero traffic deaths is a noble goal, but the only way you're guaranteed to reach its goal is to ban cars inside NYC.
      Reader1
      • 7 Months Ago
      Sweden and and New York CIty have the about the same population . So this statement "264 people died on the highways in all of Sweden last year, compared to 290 in just New York City" Shows that they have the same mortality rate.
      RACEY
      • 7 Months Ago
      Something about the math just doesn't work here. NYC has 8.4 million people, all of Sweden has 9.5 million. They each have pretty close to the same deaths....how can the mortality rate be a third of NYC? That just doesn't make sense.
        RACEY
        • 7 Months Ago
        @RACEY
        Never mind, it was a reading comprehension fail. The sentence with the numbers is comparing all of Sweden to NYC, the second sentence with the 1/3 statistic then compares Stockholm only. Still, NYC has more than twice the population density of Stockholm, I imagine there has to be some sort of correlation there between people being crammed into a city have a higher chance of getting hit than that in a less dense city.
        Bexly
        • 7 Months Ago
        @RACEY
        Probably per person per mile driven or something to that effect.
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Safety measure or revenue measure?
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 7 Months Ago
      How about just banning cars all together? Hey, if pedestrians want to run NYC, they can have it. Glad I left.
      David
      • 7 Months Ago
      Stockholm is calm, organized and law-abiding. What works in Stockholm will not work in New York City.
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