Vision Zero 2.0 – the Streets of Stockholm

 

The residents of Stockholm, capital of Sweden which pioneered the concept of Vision Zero – an ambitious goal of having zero fatalities as a result of traffic and an ambition which has since found its way to North American cities like New York and Seattle – are rediscovering the city’s livability and historic charms by re-prioritizing more public spaces for the benefit of people.

In this Exploring the Streets of Stockholm short film, Streetfilms explores the inter-related aspects of vibrant public spaces, walk-ability, bike-ability and de-prioritizing auto-orientation and how they contribute to creating desirable public places where people naturally congregate.

A Walkable City

Stockholm was one of the first cities which introduced car-free zones in sections of the city. Contrary to what a lot of the businesses feared, one of the streets featured in the film which turned into a pedestrian street in 2004 witnessed more people coming and shopping there. The street remains busy even in after hours when the shops are closed. “The shops might be closed but it is a lovely and social thing to do to walk the city and be out at night feeling safe”, observed one of the pedestrians.

The city was one of the first in Europe to introduce congestion pricing in the downtown core. Initially 70% of the population were against the measure. A recent poll showed that 70% of the residents are now in favor.

The city is also busy expanding its protected bike networks throughout the city. Stockholm saw cycling doubled in the past ten years. Combined with walk-able neighborhoods and good transit infrastructure giving people viable transportation options instead of driving, the city has gone a long way in relieving its residents of auto dependency. In Stockholm, only about a third of the twenty year-olds have a driver’s license, says traffic consultant Ulf Erikson.

Vision Zero 2.0

While progress is still being made on the country’s original Vision Zero goal, Stockholm is now thinking beyond Zero. From the current conversation on how to make their roads safe enough that nobody dies while traveling them, the next shift, Vision Zero 2.0 as the folks would call it, is about reaping the benefits of a livable city. The health benefits of more exercise through more walking and cycling and the social benefits of living in a vibrant and stimulating neighborhood move the yardstick well beyond not dying.

The full width video can be watched here.

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