Case Study: West Hartford, Connecticut

Vision Zero Adoption

2023

Vision Zero Target

2033

Community Description

West Hartford, situated in Connecticut, has a population of around 64,000 people. This suburban town is known for its vibrant center that combines retail and residential spaces uniquely, making it a popular local destination. West Hartford features a well-planned road network with major routes such as Interstate 84 and Route 44 facilitating easy access to neighboring cities and attractions. The town also has numerous public transportation options, including bus, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail.


Challenges

From 2018 to 2022, the number of fatal and serious crashes in West Hartford more than doubled, and more than half of the fatal and serious injury crashes occurred on the same 17 miles of roadway.


Safe System Focus

Safety practices and policies, safe design, safety culture, and safety data


Funding

The Vision Zero Action Plan includes a comprehensive list of projects to be prioritized and the respective funding sources (or where additional funding, staffing, or legislative support is needed). In 2023, the Town of West Hartford was awarded USDOT Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grants to “Conduct Demonstration or Other Supplemental Planning Activities” for their Speed Management Pilot Program. The Town is pursuing a 2024 SS4A grant applying actions from its Vision Zero Plan.


Lessons Learned

  • If a formal plan is not in place yet, it is important to start somewhere. The urgency in addressing safety concerns in West Hartford led to the adoption of Vision Zero prior to the development of an Action Plan.  
  • Taking advantage of existing plans and policies related to Vision Zero helps build the foundation for a Vision Zero Action Plan. Reviewing Vision Zero plans from peer communities is also very helpful to build the framework of a new plan.  
  • Getting started and planning ahead can be key for success when “right place, right time” funding opportunities become available.  
  • Although the Action Plan is finalized, members of the Vision Zero Task Force from the Town and community will continue meeting with a Vision Zero Advisory Committee to review and comment on the Town’s efforts to complete the Action Plan’s recommendations.  
  • It takes time to implement the Safe System approach and reach the goal of eliminating road fatalities and serious injuries. However, it is important to get the community on board and explain how the Safe System approach can have meaningful change. Seeing change, especially in the first year of implementation of a Vision Zero Action Plan, is critical for the community to start seeing real physical changes. Quick build improvements are examples of implementing change visible to the community as you build the foundation of a Safe System.  


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