OAKLAND, Calif., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing that the safety of streets and sidewalks go hand in hand with encouraging physical activity, Kaiser Permanente announced support for the Vision Zero Network, a newly formed collaborative aimed at ensuring all people have safe and healthy ways to move around their communities.
Vision Zero is a strategy emerging across the United States to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries -- particularly for those walking and bicycling.
The Network will bring together leaders in public health, traffic engineering, police, policy and advocacy to develop and share winning strategies to make Vision Zero a reality -- strategies such as managing speed, redesigning streets, leading behavior change campaigns and traffic enforcement.
"Kaiser Permanente wants more people to engage in physical activity, such as walking and biking, and to build that activity into their daily routine," said Tyler Norris, vice president, Total Health Partnerships, Kaiser Permanente. "But assuring access to safe streets and environments is critical to support them to be more active in the communities where they live, work and go to school."
First launched in Sweden in the 1990s and proving successful across Europe, Vision Zero is building momentum in major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Washington D.C., Portland, Seattle and New York, with additional cities considering action.
Studies show that many American city streets are dangerous by design. Nationally, 15 percent of traffic fatalities occur among people walking or biking, and the majority of these tragedies are in urban areas. On average, someone is killed every two hours while walking in America, or injured every eight minutes in a traffic accident.
Research also shows that minorities, children, the elderly and individuals in low-income urban areas disproportionately suffer from pedestrian deaths.
"For too long, in too many communities, our transportation systems have been out of sync with our priorities for improved health, sustainability, equity and economic well-being," said Leah Shahum, director of the Vision Zero Network. "Local leaders recognize that we can and must do more to ensure our citizens' right to safe mobility. We are uniting around Vision Zero to reorient our priorities and policies to ensure that safety really is first on our streets and sidewalks."
The Vision Zero Network received a grant of $600,000 over three years from the Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation. Four years ago, Kaiser Permanente catalyzed -- and continues to lead -- a national conversation about the benefits of walking, physical activity and active transportation.
The Vision Zero Network is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives. To learn more the Vision Zero Network, visit visionzeronetwork.org.
The $600,000 contribution was reviewed and approved by the Kaiser Permanente Board of Directors Community Benefit Committee, chaired by Cynthia Telles, PhD.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.
Kaiser Permanente media contact: Kyra Nead, [email protected], 510-504-5048
Vision Zero media contact: Leah Shahum, 415-269-4170
SOURCE Kaiser Permanente