City Club of Eugene: What I Learned About Vision Zero in Sweden & Denmark

Jan 16, 2017

Recorded on: January 13, 2017

Air Date: January 16, 2017

Coordinator: Sandy Ericson

Speaker: Matt Rodrigues, P.E., ENV SP: AIC Traffic Engineer
Public Works Maintenance, City of Eugene

Matt Rodrigues, a Eugene Traffic Engineer in the Public Works Department, was awarded the American Public Works Association’s Jennings Randolph International Fellowship to study implementation of Vision Zero in Sweden and Denmark. Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic. It started in Sweden and was approved by their parliament in October 1997. A core principle of the vision is that ‘Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society’ as opposed to the more conventional comparison between costs and benefits in which a monetary value is placed on life and health and then that value is used to decide how much money to spend on a road network. This approach puts a cost benefit on reducing risk instead of saving lives. Matt’s presentation will give Eugene specific examples, ‘food for thought’, on how Eugene can effectively implement the the Vision Zero principles locally.

The award, one of only two given out in 2016, reimbursed Rodrigues $2,000 for his international public works study tour in September, 2016. Rodrigues attended and presented at the Swedish Association of Municipal Engineers Annual Conference in Sweden and undertook a study tour relating to Sweden’s implementation of the Vision Zero Initiative. While overseas, Rodrigues also traveled to nearby Denmark, where he learned about Denmark’s Road Safety Action Plan, similar in goals and successes to Sweden’s Vision Zero Initiative. The trip gave Rodrigues a first-person perspective and valuable insight into how other countries are implementing life-saving techniques and how they may translate to Eugene.

copyright, KLCC 2017