Arlington Receives 2024 Vision Zero for Youth U.S. Leadership Award

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and ARLINGTON, Va. (May 10, 2024) – The National Center for Safe Routes to School is pleased to name Arlington County, Virginia, as the 2024 recipient of the Vision Zero for Youth U.S. Leadership Award. Arlington County—through the work of its Vision Zero initiative—and Arlington Public Schools are being recognized for their innovative commitment, passionate leadership, and creative collaborations geared toward improving safety for Arlington’s youngest walkers and bicyclists.

“Arlington’s work to prioritize safe walking and biking for youth exemplifies Vision Zero for Youth leadership,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director, National Center for Safe Routes to School, UNC Highway Safety Research Center. “In all aspects of this work, the County demonstrates a commitment to assessment, improvement, and pushing forward to action for streets that are safer and more inviting for active travel. We are honored to recognize Arlington’s efforts and accomplishments and hope their work will be emulated in other communities across the country.”

Pullen-Seufert said the Award Committee was impressed by the County’s wide-ranging traffic calming strategies, such as 20 mph slow zones near schools, accessible school zone retrofits, and school zone speed cameras; use of data to prioritize areas for equity emphasis and areas for safety improvements ideal for accessible quick-build and pilot projects; inclusion of the needs of youth in its Vision Zero plan; and active, inclusive engagement to gain input from community members.

“This prestigious accolade is a testament to our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students who walk and bike to school,” said David Priddy, Interim School Board Chair, Arlington Public Schools. “I am proud of our commitment and collaboration to eliminate severe injuries and fatalities among our children and adolescents. I want to thank Arlington County for its continued partnership.”

“We are committed to ensuring students and children are safe while traveling to school and around the County,” said Libby Garvey, Chair, Arlington County Board. “Through these novel strategies and safety improvements, we continue our efforts to eliminate severe and fatal crashes and make Arlington a safer and more accessible community for everyone, including our youngest residents.”

The National Center for Safe Routes to School presented the award on May 10 at Washington-Liberty High School (1301 North Stafford Street). The school has a student chapter of the Arlington Road Safety Club, which focuses on creating awareness and educating students about proper roadway safety. The high school is also a stop along a local elementary school’s “bike bus” (also called bicibús) route.

The Vision Zero for Youth U.S. Leadership Award, now in its seventh year, recognizes cities, counties, or tribal governments that are taking bold steps to stop severe injuries and deaths among child and youth pedestrians and bicyclists. The award aims to highlight noteworthy practices and inspire other cities to take action. Past recipients include Los Angeles, Calif.; New York City, N.Y.; Fremont, Calif.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Seattle, Wash.

The Milwaukee, Wis., SRTS Program received an innovation award during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Center asked city officials from the first six cities that received the Vision Zero for Youth U.S. Leadership Award about key practices and included their common insights in the new resource launched today, Nine Strategies Cities Use to Support Safe, Active Travel for Children and Youth.


Vision Zero for Youth
Launched by the National Center for Safe Routes to School in 2016, the Vision Zero for Youth initiative encourages communities and elected officials to focus safety improvements and efforts to slow traffic speeds where children and youth travel. Starting with youth can be the spark that creates community support for a broader Vision Zero program to eliminate all traffic fatalities. The initiative includes resources, ideas for taking action, and national and international recognition programs. Support for the initiative is provided by the FIA Foundation and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.

National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School helps communities change their culture around safe and active travel. Its role includes national coordination and technical assistance for US Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day, and providing tools, training, research and evaluation for safe walking and bicycling for children and youth. The National Center for Safe Routes to School served as US Federal Highway Administration’s clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program for eleven years. It is located at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.