City says speed limit reductions are helping reduce traffic deaths

MADISON, Wis. – Fewer people are dying due to traffic accidents in Madison this year compared to 2021, and leaders from the Madison traffic division are crediting their Vision Zero initiative.

On Wednesday morning, city traffic engineer Yang Tao shared new project data, which found the number of traffic-related deaths and severe injuries has decreased by 40% since last year.

“People know that we’re serious about this,” Tao said. “We really start to refuse to take fatality as a price to pay for mobility.”

Vision Zero uses a multi-pronged approach to reach zero traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. Since it began about two years ago, the traffic division has made changes to city infrastructure, speed limits and police enforcement focusing on hazardous driving.

RELATED: Madison’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan making progress, city says

Some of that enforcement has been focused on East Washington Avenue, one of the busiest and deadliest streets in the city. On that street, the number of crashes has actually gone up by 6%.

Still, Tao said the goal of Vision Zero is to make Madison streets more forgiving so that when people do make mistakes on the road they can help mitigate the outcome.

Since late July, much of East Washington went from being a 35 mph road to just 25 mph.

RELATED: John Nolen Drive speed limit reduced as part of Vision Zero plan

He also pointed to Vision Zero data that noted while crashes were up on East Washington Avenue, fatalities and severe injuries were down 33%.

At least three people have been killed on Madison streets this year, including a bicyclist on the east side earlier this month and another on Mineral Point Road in June.

To expand the reach of Vision Zero, city leaders are working to secure additional funding to bring more changes to infrastructure in Madison.

For the latest traffic conditions across the area, click here.