Santa Barbara
Vision Zero 2030

Vision Zero is not a slogan or a tagline. It is a smarter way to approach traffic safety

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries in Santa Barbara by 2030 while enhancing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all. The concept was introduced in Sweden in the 1990s. It has proven successful across Europe and is gaining momentum in many cities in the USA. The Santa Barbara City Council voted to adopt the Vision Zero perspective in September 2018.

Vision Zero is about evolving our thinking about what causes traffic-related collisions and what can be done to prevent them. Traditionally, traffic fatalities and severe injuries have been viewed as “accidents.” Yet in fact, each traffic-related collision has a cause and can be prevented. That’s why Vision Zero regards traffic collisions as a policy problem that can be addressed through focused evaluation, education, engineering, and enforcement.



To do that, seven core principles will guide transportation-related decision-making, planning, designing, and enforcement in Santa Barbara.

Life is Most Important

The protection of human life and health is the overriding goal of traffic planning and engineering, taking priority over vehicle speeds and other objectives.

Every Person Matters

Everyone has the right to be safe on our streets, regardless of the way they choose to travel.

People Make Mistakes

In order to prevent and reduce death and serious injury, traffic systems can and should be designed to account for the inevitability of human error.

Focus on Dangerous
Locations and Behaviors

City engineering and enforcement efforts will be informed by accurate and timely collision data and focus first on the most problematic locations, collision types, and behaviors.

Drivers Have a
Critical Responsibility

When we drive, we control a machine that can inflict a great deal of physical harm. As drivers, we have a critical responsibility for the safety of others. We can be acting criminally when we drive and park in ways that put others at risk.

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Pedestrians and Cyclists are
the Most Vulnerable Road Users

Because they have the most to lose, pedestrians and cyclists need to abide by the laws in place to keep them safe.

The Government Shares
Responsibility for Safe Streets

All elected officials and appropriate government staff will need to collaborate and act to achieve Vision Zero.

Vision Zero.
A smarter way to
approach traffic

A 360-Degree “Safety-First” Mentality

The success of Vision Zero Santa Barbara will require the collaboration of the City Public Works Department, the Police Department, non-profit partner organizations, and the general public. Vision Zero Santa Barbara activities will be centered on four areas of action called the “Safety-First Four E’s.” They are: evaluation, engineering, enforcement, and education.

This work is done primarily by transportation professionals within the Public Works Department. Safety first thinking means resources will be focused on locations with recurring collisions and designs and plans will be created that are aimed at eliminating collision recurrence.

This section is entirely implemented by the Police Department and other enforcement bodies. The City Police Department will report traffic statistics alongside crime statistics as part of its community policing and Vision Zero approach. This means that Police Department resources can also be discussed and allocated more appropriately based on safety statistics.

This effort is organized by Public Works, and includes marketing strategies and the use of media tools to bring about a cultural shift that evolves the current thinking about collisions and dangerous driving behaviors and encourages a sense of shared responsibility.

Heatmap of all Serious and Fatal Collisions (2008 – 2017)

Problem Areas
The red on this heat map indicates the areas where fatal and severe collisions are most likely to occur in Santa Barbara. Vision Zero activities will focus on “cooling” the map in these most problematic areas.

Take The
Vision Zero

I promise to…

  • Not take actions that endanger those around me… like texting while driving, ignoring traffic regulations while riding a bike and not paying attention when walking or driving in crosswalks.
  • Slow down and look around, especially at intersections.
  • Know the rules of the road—pedestrians have right of way.
  • Be alert when traveling on city streets.
  • Share this Safe Street pledge with my family and friends.