View our new interactive Vision Zero Crash Dashboard.
Click here for the Data Dashboard User Guide.
Vision Zero begins with good data and transparency. As part of developing the County’s Vision Zero Action Plan, County staff will use a proactive, data-driven approach to better identify and address the top risk factors before they result in a fatality or serious injury.
The County collects and analyzes data to understand trends, patterns, and systemic safety issues: for example, the locations where fatal and serious crashes have already occurred, how safety interventions are performing, and the neighborhoods/populations disproportionately affected by safety risks. In turn, the findings of the data analyses guide public education, priority actions, and funding.
Throughout the Action Plan process, the County’s data, analyses, and progress reports will be readily accessible to the community to ensure that the Vision Zero effort is transparent and meaningful. Read below to learn more about the data analysis efforts available to date.
The analyses shared below use data developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Section. The main source of the data is owned and maintained by the Virginia DMV.
This data includes only crashes that resulted in over $1500 in damage from both the Arlington County Police Department and Virginia State Police, so the numbers may not directly align with crash reports produced by the Arlington County Police Department.
Arlington County staff mapped all serious and fatal injury crashes across for the 2017-2019 three-year reporting period. Based on the location of these critical crashes, we identified what Vision Zero safety professionals call the “High-Injury Network” – the corridors with where critical crashes are concentrated. In Arlington, the High Injury Network represents just 7% of over 555 miles of roadway in Arlington County, but these corridors saw 78% of all serious or fatal crashes reviewed in our research.
Multidisciplinary staff conduct safety audits on Arlington’s High-Injury Network (HIN) corridors. The purpose of the audits is to visit each HIN corridor to identify: (1) small scale or quick-build projects that we can implement quickly to improve safety, (2) existing/upcoming projects occurring on the corridor and how they will help address safety, and (3) other opportunities or needs to enhance safety for consideration for future capital projects or plans. Visit the High-Injury Network Corridor Safety Audits page to learn more about HIN audits.
High Injury Network Map (PDF)
Arlington County staff reviewed all critical crashes – those resulting in serious or fatal injuries to one or more people involved – in detail over three-year reporting period from 2017 to 2019. There were 178 critical crashes in Arlington during this time period, out of a total of 7,549 reported crashes.
When we focused our analysis on critical crashes by mode, we learned that:
- While crashes involving pedestrians make up only about 5% of all crashes, pedestrian crashes make up almost a quarter of critical crashes and over half of fatal crashes. This data affirms that when a pedestrian is involved in a crash, their injury is much more likely to be severe.
- Similarly, motorcycles made up lonely 1% of all crashes but over 13% of serious crashes
- Bicyclists made up about 2% of all reported crashes but 8% of serious crashes.
It is important that our Vision Zero program focuses on these vulnerable road users like pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, because they are more likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury if there is a crash.
Staff also identified common factors involved in critical crashes:
- Only about 8% of all crashes involved alcohol, but almost half of fatal crashes involved alcohol – showing that drinking and driving has a large impact on the severity of a crash.
- While there are fewer people on the road at night, we found that over half of fatal crashes occurred after dark.
- Speeding and turns were also common circumstances that played a role in serious or fatal crashes.
All this information helps us to understand where to prioritize our efforts to reduce the number of severe or fatal crashes in the County.
2017-2019 Systemic Critical Crash Analysis Report (PDF)
Staff are currently engaged in an updated/more comprehensive systemic analysis of safety issues in Arlington with an emphasis on equity in access to safe transportation. Please look for updates on this initiative in early 2023.
Under Action Item A3: Annual Crash Analysis, the Vision Zero Action Plan states that the Vision Zero will perform hot spot reviews of all reported crashes to identify individual intersections or locations that experience high numbers of crashes with the target to implement quick-build crash mitigation measures.
Hot spots are identified for vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian crashes. County staff review each location and identify/add safety improvements that will reduce crashes. Click the links below to learn more about past and upcoming hot spot work:
To track safety at hot spots over time, the Vision Zero team maintains an inventory of hot spots, including crash data and applied treatments. The team will assess improvements at each hot spot during each year’s annual crash review to ensure the treatments implemented effectively reduce crashes at the hot spot.
Under Action Item A5: Critical Crash Reviews, the Vision Zero Action Plan states that the Vision Zero will review and evaluate critical crashes (those that result in a severe or fatal injury) to identify actions for quick response. Arlington police, state police, transportation engineers/planners, public health representatives, and a County manager representative participate in a quarterly, interdisciplinary review of all critical crashes (more immediate reviews occur for fatal crashes). The reviews result in subsequent action items (engineering, education, or enforcement based), which are tracked in Vision Zero mid-year and annual reports.
When there is a critical (severe or fatal injury) crash, EMS and police immediately respond to the scene. Following the crash, there is an active investigation. During the investigation period, police interview witnesses, collect evidence, and make next of kin family notifications. Transportation engineers conduct preliminary reviews of the site location to identify potential safety issues and improvements. It is important that all facts are confirmed to ensure the County's response adequately addresses all present and potential safety issues. Once the active investigation closes, police finalize the crash report/charges, the interdisciplinary team finalizes next steps, and action occurs as soon as possible. The following flow chart illustrates this critical crash response process.