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Vision Zero
Speaker icon Vision Zero Email  |  Facebook logo Vision Zero Facebook

Cody Gentry
Vision Zero Coordinator
[email protected]


  Mayor Indya Kincannon
In the last five years, more than 1,200 friends, neighbors, and family members in Knoxville have had their lives changed forever due to crashes that resulted in a fatality or serious injury. 

That is not okay. No Knoxville resident should feel like they're risking their life to get groceries, go to work, or visit friends and family.

That’s why I’m proud to present the City of Knoxville Vision Zero Action Plan. This plan is a collaboration with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization with guidance from the Vision Zero Steering Committee that first convened in 2022.

Over the last year and a half, this team used data and input from residents to identify where and why life-altering crashes happen in Knoxville so that we can work together to prevent them in the future. This proactive, data-informed approach will help the city and its partners develop targeted strategies to save lives.

Moving around our city should not be a life or death proposition. That’s why I am committed to an aspirational Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities on city-controlled roads by 2040. By working together, we can make our streets safer for everyone who uses them.  

  City of Knoxville Vision Zero Action Plan

City Action Plan
  TPO Regional Roadway Safety Action Plan

Regional Roadway Safety Action Plan


Happy kid on bicycle
Every year, people who live, work, and travel in Knoxville are needlessly injured or killed in traffic crashes. The City rejects the status quo that these life-altering crashes are inevitable. In reality, tragedies can be prevented through bold and aggressive action. We embrace a Vision Zero approach, which means shifting our priorities from moving vehicles quickly to moving people safely, and taking a proactive approach to prevent crashes before they happen.

In 2021, City Council unanimously resolved to endorse a Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Knoxville’s streets. Vision Zero aligns with the City’s focus on public safety, connectivity, and equitable mobility. By using a comprehensive approach that brings together road design, public education, and law enforcement, we can prevent life-altering crashes.

Steps to achieve Vision Zero in Knoxville include:
  • Designating a high injury network, those roadway segments that see the most life-altering crashes in our city.
  • Identifying projects and strategies that will reduce the number of fatal and severe injury crashes on our roadways.
  • Creating a transparent platform for tracking our progress on improving roadway safety.
  • Coordinating between the City of Knoxville, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), and Knoxville TPO in implementing this plan. 

One Life Lost Is Too Many


A Vision Zero Action Plan is led by the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries. Considering the rate of traffic-related fatalities and injuries, this goal can seem overwhelming and out of reach – but the opportunity to save lives is worth it. To make our goal a reality will require commitment to shared values and the guiding principles below. When design and policy challenges arise, these principles serve as a reminder of the importance of this work, underlying the values and elements needed to make this goal a reality. 

  Traffic deaths and severe injuries are unacceptable and preventable.
The City of Knoxville will prioritize actions that reduce crashes that result in a severe injury or death. 

Human life is vulnerable and takes priority over moving cars.
The impact of heavy, fast-moving vehicles is often too much for our bodies. Saving lives is more important than improving roadway capacity. 

Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility and should reflect community needs.
Everyone who lives in, works in, visits, or travels through Knoxville shares responsibility for the safety of our streets. This includes elected officials, government staff, advocates, the vehicle industry, and members of the public.

Roadways should be designed to account for human error and ensure that mistakes aren’t deadly or life-altering.
We know humans make mistakes, but one mistake should not end a life. Design of our streets should anticipate these risks and minimize harm.

Quality data, transparent evaluation, and transparent decision-making are needed at all levels of government.
High-quality data is foundational to informing safety improvements. Data should be made available to the public to hold everyone accountable on progress toward zero traffic deaths. 
Pedestrian crossing in front of bus

Safe Systems Approach

The Safe System approach is the framework that guides Vision Zero efforts.

The Safe System approach anticipates human mistakes by building redundancy into transportation systems, so if one aspect of the system breaks down, there are others in place to prevent life-altering crashes and injuries. This approach involves identifying multiple aspects of safety: road users, vehicles, speed, road design, and post-crash care.

The Safe System approach requires adopting a culture of safety by those who plan, govern, maintain, and use our roadways in Knoxville.  


As the largest municipality in the region, the City of Knoxville plays a vital role in informing and advancing regional priorities. The City of Knoxville has been a regional trendsetter with respect to safety, with the City Council passing a unanimous resolution to support a Vision Zero goal to eliminate serious injuries and traffic deaths in Knoxville.

The City has invested time and funds into plans and policies that support safer roads, including collecting and analyzing transportation safety data, establishing partnerships for comprehensive safety work, developing internal staff knowledge about safety best practices, adopting a Complete Streets Policy, and recognizing the urgency and equity implications of biking and walking safety.

With these actions, Knoxville has set the foundation for Vision Zero in the city and for the development of this plan.


As part of our Vision Zero goal, the City committed to developing an Action Plan to serve as a 'road map' to reach our goals. The City launched this planning stage in February 2022, guided by a broad coalition of stakeholders.

In late 2022, the City joined a coalition of local governments led by Knoxville-Knox County Planning to complete a Regional Roadway Safety Plan and a City-specific Action Plan.

The City's Action Plan was completed in July 2023. It focuses on engineering, education, and enforcement strategies in alignment with Vision Zero and federal 'Safe Streets For All' grant guidelines. Now, the City and partners will implement specific projects and programs recommended in the plan.

Highlights of our work so far include:

  • October 19, 2021 - City Council passes resolution endorsing Vision Zero goal
  • December 14, 2021 - City Council reduces speed limits on unposted roads and City launches 'Save Lives with 25' campaign
  • January 10, 2022 - City finalizes 'Safer and Complete Streets' study and launches public survey on road safety
  • May 15, 2022 - Bike Walk Knoxville hosts Open Streets Knoxville event on Sevier Ave
  • May 16, 2022 - Vision Zero stakeholder coalition meets for the first time
  • June 16, 2022 - WATE interviews Vision Zero leaders on speed limit reduction
  • August 18, 2022 - City Council holds workshop on active transportation studies
  • October 1, 2022 - Bike Walk Knoxville releases 'Crash Survivor Stories' video
  • January 2023 - Knox TPO begins regional roadway safety planning process
  • February 14, 2023 - TPO and City launch public outreach for respective action plans
  • June 4, 2023 - Bike Walk Knoxville hosts Open Streets event in north Knoxville
  • June 16, 2023 - Knoxville awarded Bronze-level 'Bicycle Friendly Community' from League of American Bicyclists
  • June 28, 2023 - TPO Executive Board adopts Regional Roadway Safety Action Plan
  • July 2023 - City finalizes Vision Zero Action Plan and applies for federal Safe Streets for All grant
  • August 12, 2023 - City's Vision Zero team to table at Neighborhood Resource Fair
  • December 13, 2023 - USDOT awards City $8m Safe Streets for All grant
  • January 2024 - City posts Vision Zero Coordinator position