The City of Bellevue is committed to tracking progress toward its Vision Zero goals. This page documents efforts associated with the Vision Zero initiative, with content organized by the eight elements of the Safe System approach. The city will publish biennial progress reports beginning in 2022.
Vision Zero pledges from the Bellevue Community
Bellevue residents are taking the personalized Vision Zero pledge. City staff asked residents what they would like to see to improve the safety of our streets and achieve Vision Zero in Bellevue. Responses from an elementary grade five safety patrol and our Bellevue Essentials 2022 class cohort can be found here.
‘Tune In, Not Out’ Education Campaign
One in four drivers involved in fatalities or serious injuries in Bellevue is under 25 years old. Inattentive and distracted driving is associated with 20 percent of local fatal and serious injury collisions. Tune In, Not Out (TINO) is an educational campaign partnership with the Bellevue School District and Washington DECA against teen distracted driving. The partnership began in 2019, and a case study was shared with the City Council in February 2020.
Rapid Build Data Driven Safety Program
The City Council has allocated $2.5 million in the city’s budget for 2021–27 to implement rapid build road safety projects along five High Injury Network (HIN) corridors, including Northeast 8th Street, east of downtown, and Factoria Boulevard (see CIP PW-R-205). Funding will implement safety countermeasures such as radar feedback signs, pedestrian crossings, medians, and before/after assessments to help inform future investments.
Road Safety Assessments
One element of the Safe Streets strategy is to conduct Road Safety Assessments (RSA). Assessments so far include:
- In March 2021, Bellevue – in partnership with the state Department of Transportation, King County Metro, and the Federal Highway Administration – conducted an RSA on Northeast Eighth Street in the Crossroads area (see NE 8th Street RSA Report).
- In July 2021, Bellevue – in partnership with the state Department of Transportation, King County Metro, and the Federal Highway Administration – conducted an RSA on Factoria Boulevard Southeast from Newport Way to 36th Street (see Factoria Blvd SE RSA Report).
- From 2022 to 2023, Bellevue - in partnership with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission - conducted six RSAs near 12 schools. The assessments for all six RSAs are summarized in a report, School Zone Ped-Bike Road Safety Assessment. The RSA locations and schools included:
- Sherwood Forest Elementary School and Interlake High School – January 2022
- Highland Middle School – April 2022
- Sammamish High School, Stevenson Elementary School and Odle Middle School – May 2022
- Lake Hills Elementary School, Big Picture School, Phantom Lake Elementary School and Tillicum Middle School – November 2022
- International School – February 2023
- Newport High School – March/April 2023
Leading Pedestrian Intervals
A leading pedestrian interval, or LPI, is when people crossing the street are given the WALK sign before the adjacent vehicles are given a green light. A LPI is one tool the city uses to help improve safety (see one page flyer).
Speed Management Plan
Released in January 2024, the Speed Management Plan (SMP) is the city's first plan to address speed management on arterial roadways with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or greater. Similar to the Residential Traffic Guidebook for local streets, the countermeasure toolkit in the SMP details engineering solutions that may be appropriate for a given arterial corridor based on land use, speed limit and impact to emergency response vehicles.
Slow Zone Pilot
In response to community concerns about high vehicle speeds and pedestrian safety, the Transportation Department lowered the speed limit of all streets in the Surrey Downs neighborhood from 25 mph to 20 mph in fall 2020. This project was selected from more than 100 candidate locations in the city following a prioritization process by the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services group. The city will evaluate the effectiveness of the speed limit change through before and after traffic studies that measure vehicle speeds and through community feedback.
At the City Council’s direction, staff is working with the Transportation Commission to review and recommend revisions to city code regulating the use of motorized foot scooters (commonly called e-scooters). Currently prohibited from using sidewalks and most arterial streets, potential regulatory changes could expand access to opportunity for people using this increasingly popular mobility option while emphasizing safety as a priority.
The City of Bellevue is committed to participating in and contributing to the national Vision Zero cities network so that we’re collectively moving towards zero together. The following highlight some of these recent activities.
Safe Streets and Road for All Grant Award
On Dec. 13, 2023, the City of Bellevue was selected for an award of $2.787 million in Federal funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program in the Planning and Demonstration categories. See the press release and the award recipient list here: FY 2023 SS4A Awards. The award will support the city in carrying out road safety audits, speed studies, developing a separated bike lane design guide, and creating speed safety camera procedures. The City will additionally conduct demonstration activities testing approaches for protected turn phasing for pedestrians, adaptive pedestrian signal controls, aesthetically treated crosswalks, and cellular vehicle-to-everything technologies. Further information on these activities is available in the grant application.
Vision Zero and Technology Roundtable
On Jan. 11, 2022, the City of Bellevue collaborated with ITE in organizing a Vision Zero & Technology Roundtable in Washington, DC that brought together public and private sector leaders to share the latest technological developments, identify problems, develop strategies, and pursue the most effective set of actions to improve safety (Roundtable Report).
Over the years, Bellevue has continued testing innovative ideas to further traffic safety—receiving acknowledgments along the way.
- In 2021, the city was recognized by the National Operations Center of Excellence with a runner-up award in the Best TSMO Project category (Transportation Systems Management and Operations) for its video analytics work to identify near-crash data on city streets.
- In 2019, Bellevue was recognized as both a Silver-level Walk Friendly Community and Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community.
- In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Bellevue a Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative Award for its data collection activities supporting the Pedestrian and Bicycle Implementation Initiative.
The City of Bellevue cultivates an organizational culture that identifies traffic fatalities and serious injuries as unacceptable and preventable. The following highlight some of these recent activities.
Vision Zero Design Thinking Workshop
On Mar. 10, 2022, the City of Bellevue staff benefited from an Arizona State University sponsored Cloud Innovation Center workshop at City Hall that involved design thinking safe systems solutions to improve road safety for people walking and bicycling (Workshop Report).
Vision Zero Summit
As part of the work to create a Strategic Plan, the city organized a Bellevue Vision Zero Summit (event program – 56 MB) on Feb. 13, 2019 at Overlake Medical Center. Experts from across the state and nation spoke and Bellevue TV made video recordings of the presentation topics:
- Vision Zero overview: Remarks by crash victims, state Secretary of Transportation, representatives announcing a major partnership to address distracted driving, Bellevue's Deputy Mayor, city staff and others
- Safe Vehicles panel discussion
- Safe Speeds panel discussion
- Safe People panel discussion
- Safe Streets panel discussion
To achieve the 2030 goal, it’s important to understand the problem and to develop the right tools to address it. Knowing where, when and what type of collisions occur is critical to eliminating them. In December 2021 city staff updated the collision map to a dynamic dashboard with enhanced functionality, such as the ability to interactively search through data on fatal and serious injury collisions over a 10-year period.
The Washington State Department of Transportation also maintains a crash data portal with state and local statistics over a 10-year period.
The City of Bellevue is committed to promoting collaboration and partnerships with the community and industry to achieve its desired Vision Zero outcomes. The following highlight some of these recent partnerships.
Video Analytics Partnerships
In partnership with private sector, government and non-profit organizations, Bellevue is using its extensive system of 360-degree, high-definition traffic cameras to identify near-crash traffic conflicts between people driving, walking and bicycling. The insights derived from processing these video feeds with artificial intelligence algorithms help the city proactively identify safety improvements for intersections.
Working with Amazon Web Services, Advanced Mobility Analytics Group, Ouster, Outsight, Blue-Band, SCATS, and Fehr & Peers the city conducted a before-and-after evaluation on the safety impacts of high visibility crosswalks using video analytics. Results from the study revealed that high visibility crosswalks reduce vehicle-pedestrian conflicts by 56 percent (see Fehr & Peers report).
Working with Microsoft, Advanced Mobility Analytics Group, and Jacobs, the city conducted a before-and-after evaluation on the safety impacts of leading pedestrian intervals. The pilot study included 20 intersections in the Downtown and Crossroads areas with traffic cameras that were used to observe more than 650,000 road users. Results from a study of 10 pedestrian crossings on three (3) signalized intersections in Bellevue showed a 42% percent reduction in vehicle-pedestrian conflicts after LPI changes were made at the intersections (see 2022 research paper and Jacobs report). Because of the favorable study results, starting in 2022 Bellevue is expanding the use of LPIs throughout its downtown area.
Working with Transoft Solutions, Together for Safer Roads, and PacTrans – University of Washington, the city completed a first-of-its-kind citywide analysis of traffic camera video in support of Vision Zero. For information on this collaboration see:
- TRB 2021 Annual Meeting Research Paper (January 2021)
- Planning Magazine – American Planning Association (October 2020)
- ITS World Congress research paper (October 2020)
- Executive Summary project overview (July 2020)
- Conflict Analysis technical report (July 2020)
- Speeding Analysis technical report (July 2020)
- Crash Correlation technical report (July 2020)
- Roads & Bridges article (July 2020)
This strategic partnership with Transoft Solutions (ITS)—formalized in 2019—is a continuation of work that commenced with Microsoft (see 2016 brochure and 2019 case study). Information on the previous partnership is available in an ITE Journal article, in an overview video (April 2017) and in a video about potential applications (August 2018).
Another company, Street Simplified, assisted the City of Bellevue with a pilot project that used video analytics to evaluate safety at the intersection of 108th Avenue NE and Main Street (see case study).
Bellevue is committed to collecting and analyzing data to understand the factors that impact the safety of our transportation system and leverage this insight to identify improvements and evaluate outcomes.
As part of its Safety Data Initiative, the US Department Transportation and Volpe Center collaborated with the City of Bellevue in piloting local safety applications of Waze data (see case study and WIRED Magazine story).