Data Shows Significant Decline in Traffic Fatalities and Serious Injuries in Madison for Two Consecutive Years since Initiation of Vision Zero Program


The Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic that created a worldwide heath emergency also brought a traffic safety crisis to the United States, and to Madison.

In the summer of 2020, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the Common Council started Madison’s Vision Zero initiative to combat the sharp spike in traffic related crashes and injuries. The Vision Zero Steering Team and Stakeholder Task Force were formed, involving many City agencies and community stakeholders, with the City Traffic Engineering Division leading the effort. These teams have been rolling out initiatives and have been taking critical steps to help reverse the devastating trend and save lives on Madison roadways.

“Making Madison streets safe for everyone is one of my priorities,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “I am committed to creating an environment where our community feels safe when walking, biking, taking transit or driving to work, school or wherever they may need to go.”

Madison took a systematic approach to improve safety, including engineering, speed management, education and enforcement measures. City staff collaborated with University of Wisconsin researchers to create the City’s first High Injury Network to help guide where to focus City resources on future projects, improvements and outreach. Let’s Talk Streets, the community outreach arm of Vision Zero, reached out to the public, especially residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, asking questions about topics like street design, who the streets serve, how they are used, about personal experiences on local streets and ideas to make them safer.

The City developed and adopted our first Vision Zero Action Plan, including comprehensive strategies in Safe Streets, Safe People, Safe Vehicles, Safety Data and Safety Focused Enforcement. A new program, Safe Streets Madison, was also developed and implemented to prioritize safety improvement projects in the City.

These efforts are working. Preliminary data shows that traffic fatalities and serious injuries declined significantly for two consecutive years since 2020. Following a 19% spike in 2020, fatalities and serious injuries on Madison roadways declined by 17% in 2021 and by further 13% in 2022. There were 90 fatalities and serious injuries in the City of Madison in 2022, which is even lower than the pre-pandemic 2019 number of 106.

“Our work is not done until we achieve our goal of zero preventable traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” said City of Madison Traffic Engineer Yang Tao. “All of us, and our loved ones, deserve to get to our destinations safely when we travel, no matter if we walk, bike, take transit or drive. Let us continue to work together on improving roadway safety by driving sober, buckling up, slowing down, and sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians. Let us make sure that we and our loved ones always return home safely on this Valentine’s Day and on any other day.”



Image of a data table in blue for 2019 - 2022.  Shows the number of crashes, injuries, fatalities, serious injuries, total number of serious and fatal injuries and the percent change from the previous years.  The data table shows a decline.
Image of a line chart showing the trends of Crashes vs. Number of Fatalities for 2019-2022. Red line, blue line and black line.  The chart shows a decline.
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