Also: What it’s like to get outsourced from WeWork, and what new research shows about ride-hail racism.

Keep up with the most pressing, interesting, and important city stories of the day. Sign up for the CityLab Daily newsletter here.


What We’re Following

Hindsight 2020: Over the past several years, dozens of U.S. cities have committed to a new principle in road safety policy, Vision Zero, which sets the goal of completely eliminating deaths and serious injuries. The basic logic of the policy, which takes inspiration from a road safety platform in Sweden: All traffic collisions that result in death or injury—whether for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, or any other road user—are preventable through smarter engineering, education, and enforcement.

Unfortunately, also over the past several years, pedestrian and cyclist deaths have been increasing nationally. Even cities that have adopted Vision Zero have struggled to budge the transportation status quo. A CityLab analysis of five early Vision Zero cities—Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City—found that, while some cities have bent their fatality curves more than others, none of the five are currently on pace to reach zero traffic fatalities for decades, let alone by their ten-year targets.

But does that mean that Vision Zero could be a failure? Just setting a concrete target may be a bigger catalyst for change. “Vision Zero is not a slogan, tagline, or even a program,” Leah Shahum, the executive director of the Vision Zero Network, tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss. “It has to be a transformative shift in how you’re doing business on the issue of mobility.”

Read the full analysis with maps and charts galore from my colleagues Laura Bliss, David Montgomery, and Matthew Gerring: Vision Zero: Are Cities Reducing Traffic Deaths?

And for more context, revisit my recent piece digging in on Washington, D.C.’s Vision Zero politics.

Andrew Small

More on CityLab

For Many WeWork Employees, the Job Is About to Change

The co-working giant is letting 2,400 employees go and outsourcing 1,000 cleaning and facilities jobs as part of a company-wide belt-tightening.

Sarah Holder

Airbnb’s Olympic Sponsorship Deal Isn’t Playing Well in Paris

The home-rental company inked a massive deal to sponsor the Olympics until 2028—over fierce objections from the host city for the 2024 Games.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Will Scooter Selfies Get You to Wear Your Helmet?

As the debate over electric scooters and safety continues, Bird is trying to tap the power of the selfie to encourage riders to don protective headgear.  

Andrew Small

What New Research Shows About Ride-Hail Racism

A new study finds that changes ride-hail companies have made to prevent discrimination by drivers can prolong the time people of color wait for a ride.

Rebecca Bellan

What We’re Reading

Former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh pleads guilty in “Healthy Holly” book scheme (Baltimore Sun)

When did Philadelphia’s Society Hill become a city state unto itself? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Frozen in place: Americans are moving at the lowest rate on record (New York Times)

The inspiring story of Latinos invigorating America’s cities is also a dispiriting story of whites almost destroying them (Slate)

The death and afterlife of the mall (The Atlantic)

Tell your friends about the CityLab Daily! Forward this newsletter to someone who loves cities and encourage them to subscribe. Send your own comments, feedback, and tips to

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  2. Perspective

    Why the Car-Free Streets Movement Will Continue to Grow

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  3. Transportation

    How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Downplays the Role of Drivers

    Safety advocates have long complained that media outlets tend to blame pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by cars. Research suggests they’re right.

  4. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

  5. Photos

    How Thousands of Headstones Ended Up Under a Philadelphia Bridge

    A surprising tale of a forgotten cemetery, a land grab, and some clever recycling.