Vision Zero Tools and Guidelines

Action item B6 of Arlington’s Vision Zero Action Plan outlines the County’s approach to designing streets and trails to be safe for all users. Pursuant to this, the County will update existing design standards and guidelines and create new ones to reflect the fact that safety is our top priority. These guidelines will be kept up-to-date to reflect the latest safety research, standards and best practices from across the country, and to include lessons learned from systemic crash analysis.

The County recognizes the importance of responding swiftly to safety issues, so these guidelines are intended to be flexible and allow staff to exercise some discretion in determining the most effective solutions for each individual situation.

Guidelines in Development

Currently the County is working to develop guidelines for the implementation of Speed Cameras and speed limit changes within School Zones.

Speed Cameras

Our Vision Zero Action Plan identifies automated speed enforcement, also known as speed cameras, as a tool to lower speeds and enhance equity in enforcement. Further, Arlington’s Police Practices Work Group also recommends speed cameras because they reduce biases in enforcement.  

In 2020, Virginia passed legislation allowing state and local police to use speed cameras in school and work zones. Staff across County transportation, police, schools, and members of the Police Practices Group collaborated to develop a proposal to bring speed cameras to Arlington’s school and work zones that meets the state requirements. The County Board will likely consider the proposed changes to County Code in early 2022.  

Click the links below to learn more about speed cameras, how they are an effective tool to reduce speeds and severe crashes in Arlington, and how we plan to implement speed cameras in Arlington. 

School Zone Speed Limits: 

Staff are working on school zone guidelines, which include guidelines for setting speed limits in school zones. Per the Vision Zero Action Plan, staff are recommending permanent 20mph speed limits on neighborhood streets within 60 feet of a school access point. Staff plan to test out the new reduced speed limit policy and engineering plans in a few school zones before adding them at all school zones countywide.  

The Vision Zero Team presented to the County Board in November to request an adjustment to Chapter 14.2 of the County Code to specify permanent 20mph speed limits on 58 street segments within 13 school zones (areas within 600 feet of schools). The County Board approved the proposal and code changes. Therefore, demonstration school slow zones will be installed starting in December 2021 through early 2022. For more information: 

For more information: 

Staff will collect before (Fall 2021) and after (Spring 2022) vehicle speed data to assess whether the slow zone designs successfully reduce speeds around schools. We will also collect community feedback in Spring 2022 to learn about your experiences and observations during the demonstrations. 

Following data collection and any necessary updates, we anticipate installing ten school slow zones each year, meaning that the 40-plus public and private schools in the County would be in a School Slow Zone within three to five years.

For updates, subscribe to the Vision Zero Monthly Newsletter in the right hand panel of the screen.  

Multimodal Safety Toolbox

RESCHEDULED: Toolbox Community Conversation - New date coming soon

We will release a first draft of Arlington’s Multimodal Engineering Safety Toolbox in November and host a virtual public meeting to gather your thoughts and feedback on the draft. This event has been rescheduled, and a new date and time is TBD. Keep an eye out for communications on the draft Toolbox release and online event information. We are looking forward to sharing this exciting new communication tool with you!

  • Draft Multimodal Safety Toolbox (coming soon)
  • Event Details (coming soon)
Existing Guidelines

County guidelines (which we have developed and are developing) help us determine how to most effectively use the safety tools at our disposal. This includes pavement markings, pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, and rapid rectangular flashing beacons (RRFBs), to name a few.

The links below share existing guidance for safety treatments, with more on the way.

  • Bus Stop Guidelines (Updated March 2020): This manual lays out the guidelines for bus stops within the County, and emphasizes accessibility for disabled riders, consistency in the design of bus stops, safety for all road users, and convenience and comfort for transit riders.
  • Marked Crosswalk Guidelines (Updated August 2021): This manual describes the guidelines for the design and placement of marked crosswalks, with a focus on safety, accessibility, and uniformity.
  • Sign Installation Guidelines (Updated May 2020): This standard establishes requirements for the size and location of signage to maximize visibility and ensure uniformity and safety.
  • “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document lays out guidance for selecting locations in which to install a “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” plaque at stop signs to maximize safety at intersections where criteria are met.
  • In-Street Pedestrian Crossing Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This manual lays out guidelines for the placement of in-street pedestrian crossing signs to promote pedestrian safety at unsignalized locations and/or marked crosswalks.
  • Median Nose Guidelines (Updated March 2019): This manual sets out design and location specifications for median noses at crosswalks, with an emphasis on pedestrian safety and accessibility. It provides options for the installation of measures at or near median noses to increase driver awareness to eliminate driver confusion and/or collisions with the median noses.
  • Speed Feedback Indicator Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document describes guidelines for installation and use of Speed Feedback Indicator Signs, with an emphasis on discouraging speeding and promoting safety for all road users.
  • Streetlight Installation Process (Updated 2020): This document examines the split ownership of Arlington’s streetlights between the county and Dominion and sets out guidelines for both the specifications of streetlights based on the situation in which they are to be installed and the installation process.
  • Turning Vehicles Yield to Pedestrians Sign Guidelines (Updated January 2021): This document sets out guidelines for placement of these signs and focuses on ensuring that they are installed in locations to promote both pedestrian safety and efficient use of county resources.