Planning & Development

Press Release

Vision Zero Houston Hosts Ceremony to Honor Victims of Traffic Crashes

November 20, 2023 -- As drivers across the country take to the roads to reach Thanksgiving holiday destinations this week, the City of Houston paused on Sunday, November 19 to participate in World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The candlelight vigil in front of City Hall honored those who have been killed and seriously injured in traffic crashes. Each year, that number reaches an estimated 1.35 million people worldwide. The event served as a reminder for all drivers to slow down, follow traffic laws, eliminate distractions, share the road and watch for pedestrians, bicycles and all road travelers.

Vision Zero Candlelight Vigil

The remembrance event brought together families of crash victims, street and traffic safety organizations, community members, elected officials, and advocates to: Remember, Support, and Act. In 2022:

  • Over 42,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes across the United states.
  • Texas alone saw nearly 4,500 traffic deaths.
  • 324 people died in crashes on Houston streets, and 1,592 were seriously injured.
  • Of those fatalities, 35% were pedestrians and 3% were pedalcyclists.
  • The factors contributing to these crashes have remained the same since 2014: speeding, impaired driving, unsafe driving maneuvers, and disregarding traffic signs and signals.

Through the Vision Zero Program, the City of Houston is designing and building roadways, sidewalks, and bikeways and setting policies to ensure safe mobility for all. In 2022 Citywide safety improvements included 6 miles of sidewalks, 214 new accessible curb ramps and 20 miles of bikeways.

“We have seen tangible progress toward our goal of zero deaths and serious injuries by 2030,” said Planning and Development Department Director Margaret Wallace Brown. “Citywide, crashes and fatalities declined in 2022, with the trend continuing through the first nine months of 2023.”

“Our work is far from over,” Wallace Brown said. “We must remember that every number and every statistic represent a life, a family, a community. We must continue to push forward, to innovate, and to advocate for change. We must continue to prioritize safety in every decision we make, from road design to enforcement to education.”

Ongoing safety improvements:

  • The United States Department of Transportation awarded the City of Houston $50 million in Federal grants to redesign streets on our High Injury Network.
    • The Bissonnet Corridor Safe Streets project received a $29 million grant from the Federal Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program to reconfigure street lanes, create protected bike lanes, enhance crosswalks, and implement other safety measures to ensure the safety and accessibility of Bissonnet Street for all. 
    • The Telephone Road: Main Street Revitalization Project, funded in part with $21 million through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program, aims to enhance mobility and access for the community by modernizing the roadway and incorporating upgraded sidewalks, bus stops, protected bike lanes, and safety treatments.
  • The Highway Safety Improvement Program, managed by the Texas Department of Transportation, has funded over $17 million since 2020 to implement standardized safety measures and make targeted improvements in high-risk areas.
  • The Resilient Sidewalk Program in Gulfton and Kashmere Gardens focuses on improving sidewalk conditions and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
  • The Resilient Sidewalk toolkit provides guidance for developers, residents, elected officials, and partner agencies to add sidewalks and retrofit existing streets. The Toolkit provides a menu of options for different types of short-term and long-term solutions that are replicable for most streets in Houston.

In addition to City leaders representing Vision Zero Houston, speakers included City Council Member Sallie Alcorn, family members of traffic crash victims Charisse Oliver and Eric Stephens, Angel Ponce, director of the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities and Joe Cutrufo, executive director of BikeHouston. City of Houston Poet Laureate Aris Kian recited a remembrance original poem, “How We Hold Us,” and a performance by the Hispanic Children’s Youth Symphony Orchestra.

“We will keep working hand in hand with every level of government to deliver results. We will continue to collaborate to ensure that every Houstonian, every driver, passenger, pedestrian, roller, biker, and rider can be certain that they will arrive at their destination safely, every time,” said Council Member Sallie Alcorn.

“We are deeply committed to investing in safer infrastructure, promoting responsible behaviors, and addressing speeding and impaired driving across the City,” Alcorn said.

Learn more about Vision Zero Houston and engage with us at