Photo by John Williams

Traffic Justice Initiative

We typically speak of “accidents”, rarely of crashes or road violence; and rarer still do we treat them as matters of systematic injustice. Yet they are more than an accumulation of random events, more than a series of regrettable yet unavoidable byproducts of our transportation system. They constitute a violent and anti-social assault on life, health and community.

We plan to mount a campaign to redefine our societal perspective on motor vehicle crashes, and substantially reduce their occurrence. We will come at this goal from every possible angle, including transforming public discourse about road safety, holding drivers accountable for their actions, changing highway design to better limit motor vehicle speeds, fully enabling the employment of every enforcement technology, and curtailing the use of distracting electronic devices.

We see this as a national campaign, fueled by local groups. A small national staff will provide a broad perspective, technical advice, advocacy support, position papers, press releases, and coordination among local initiatives. Local groups will provide success stories through implementing a menu of local initiatives based on local needs and local interests.

We began this effort in Madison, Wisconsin on September 5, 2006. Some seventy people met for a day to discuss how we might proceed. After distilling all recommendations, we at the National Center for Bicycling & Walking have agreed to take the following steps:

  • Create a distribution list of all TJI attendees to keep everyone posted on our progress: Completed.
  • Post an outline of all the ideas generated at TJI for further comment: Completed.
  • Call a meeting with key initial partners, including Thunderhead Alliance, League of American Bicyclists, America Walks, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling, among others: To be completed by 10/9.
  • From this meeting will emerge actions to:
    • Generate additional partners from beyond bicycling and walking advocacy
    • Create a clear statement of the goals of our movement
    • Outline a strategy for success
    • Outline a specific initial campaign
    • Generate a plan to seek financial and volunteer support
    • Generate a plan to seek publicity
    • Select a steering committee to guide our progress

We would like all readers – you -- to do the following:

  • Read the materials on this site
  • Talk about traffic justice to everyone you know: your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues at work
  • Send suggestions for potential partners, strategies, and campaigns to
  • Write letters and send emails to your local media outlets demanding that careless drivers who kill be held accountable for their actions; that traffic laws be created, amended as necessary and enforced in a fashion consistent with the societal and personal impact of traffic crashes; that new roads be designed and existing roads modified to better encourage appropriate driving behavior; that the use of distracting electronic devices be restricted; and that the use of electronic enforcement devices be encouraged.

Please review the following background materials: