Imagine that, in 2050, not a single person in the United States dies in a traffic crash. This is the scenario described in this article, in which RAND researchers set forth a vision and strategy for achieving zero roadway deaths by 2050. The authors propose that a combination of three approaches can realize this scenario. The first is doubling down on programs and policies that have already been shown to be effective, including laws and enforcement, changes to roadway infrastructure designed to reduce traffic conflicts, reductions in speeds where crashes are likely, improvements to emergency response and trauma care, and more safety education and outreach. The second is accelerating advanced technology, beginning with advanced driver assistance systems (many of which are already in the market) and progressing up to fully automated vehicles. The third is prioritizing safety, which includes both (1) embracing a new safety culture that will lead Americans to think differently about our individual and collective choices and (2) widespread adoption of the "Safe System" approach, a paradigm shift in addressing the causes and prevention of roadway deaths and injuries. The authors conclude with a list of actions that key stakeholders-including professional engineering and planning organizations, public-sector organizations, safety advocates, vehicle manufacturers, technology developers, public health, emergency medical and trauma care organizations, and law enforcement and judicial system representatives-can take to bring about the changes needed to achieve zero roadway deaths by 2050.
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