Vision Zero begins with good data and transparency. As part of developing the County’s Vision Zero Action Plan, County staff will use a proactive, data-driven approach to better identify and address the top risk factors before they result in a fatality or serious injury.
The County collects and analyzes data to understand trends, patterns, and systemic safety issues: for example, the locations where fatal and serious crashes have already occurred, how safety interventions are performing, and the neighborhoods/populations disproportionately affected by safety risks. In turn, the findings of the data analyses guide public education, priority actions, and funding.
Throughout the Action Plan process, the County’s data, analyses, and progress reports will be readily accessible to the community to ensure that the Vision Zero effort is transparent and meaningful. Read below to learn more about the data analysis efforts available to date.
The analyses shared below use data developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Section. The main source of the data is owned and maintained by the Virginia DMV.
This data includes only crashes that resulted in over $1500 in damage from both the Arlington County Police Department and Virginia State Police, so the numbers may not directly align with crash reports produced by the Arlington County Police Department.
High Injury Network
Arlington County staff mapped all serious and fatal injury crashes across for the 2017-2019 three-year reporting period. Based on the location of these critical crashes, we identified what Vision Zero safety professionals call the “High-Injury Network” – the corridors with where critical crashes are concentrated. In Arlington, the High Injury Network represents just 7% of over 555 miles of roadway in Arlington County, but these corridors saw 78% of all serious or fatal crashes reviewed in our research.
Systemic Critical Crash Analysis
Arlington County staff reviewed all critical crashes – those resulting in serious or fatal injuries to one or more people involved – in detail over three-year reporting period from 2017 to 2019. There were 178 critical crashes in Arlington during this time period, out of a total of 7,549 reported crashes.
When we focused our analysis on critical crashes by mode, we learned that:
- While crashes involving pedestrians make up only about 5% of all crashes, pedestrian crashes make up almost a quarter of critical crashes and over half of fatal crashes. This data affirms that when a pedestrian is involved in a crash, their injury is much more likely to be severe.
- Similarly, motorcycles made up lonely 1% of all crashes but over 13% of serious crashes
- Bicyclists made up about 2% of all reported crashes but 8% of serious crashes.
It is important that our Vision Zero program focuses on these vulnerable road users like pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, because they are more likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury if there is a crash.
Staff also identified common factors involved in critical crashes:
- Only about 8% of all crashes involved alcohol, but almost half of fatal crashes involved alcohol – showing that drinking and driving has a large impact on the severity of a crash.
- While there are fewer people on the road at night, we found that over half of fatal crashes occurred after dark.
- Speeding and turns were also common circumstances that played a role in serious or fatal crashes.
All this information helps us to understand where to prioritize our efforts to reduce the number of severe or fatal crashes in the County.
Arlington County also conducts an annual analysis of “hot spots”, or locations with high concentrations of crashes. Hot spots are identified for vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes. County staff review each location and identify/add safety improvements that will reduce crashes. While the hot spot program does not focus specifically on serious or fatal injuries, it allows County staff to reduce the overall number of crashes—and thus the likelihood of each crash being severe.
Annual Crash Reports
Additional annual crash reports are forthcoming