While at the Vision Zero Advocate Conference in March of 2017, Shawn Gerow, sign shop lead with Grande Prairie County, learned of the Vision Zero initiative. He left the event inspired to create change in his community.
“The Vision Zero strategy moves away from the more traditional approach of focusing on messaging to try and influence driver behavior,” says Shawn. “We know that humans make mistakes, but the road system should not, so this new strategy focuses on system design.”
When asked what his most significant takeaway from the conference was he replied, “the stats…the number of deaths on our roads really hit me, along with how the chance of death and injury goes down as the speed goes down.”
With a new appreciation for system design and proven counter measures, Shawn and his crew installed 3 sets of Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at previously uncontrolled crosswalks. When asked if there has been feedback from the residents he said, “they are quite new but during the installation, we had many drivers honk their horns and give us the thumbs up. It’s been very positive.”
Having started his sign upgrade program on 3600 km of roads, even before he learned of Vision Zero, Shawn was aware that proper signage and reflectivity was a good place to start for the citizens of the County. “We continue to get comments from drivers as to how bright and visible they are.” He goes on to say, “with what we continue to learn about Vision Zero, it will help make our County roads safer for everyone.”
As we move Vision Zero forward with system design, we also understand that a continued paradigm shift is required by everyone to eventually accomplish our goal. As our good friends in Sweden say, “no loss of life is acceptable.”