Archive | February, 2016

What is Vision Zero?

25 Feb

Sweden knows a thing or two about safe streets; they have the safest streets in the world.  That is why their approach to reducing traffic fatalities, Vision Zero, was adopted in other countries and in recent years in a few cities in the U.S.  Vision Zero is not just the latest safety buzzword, it turns the whole idea of traffic safety upside down, from blaming fatalities on what motorists (cyclists, pedestrians, etc.) did wrong to shared responsibility with road designers as well. For example, a traffic fatality at a curve might prompt installation of a guide rail today, while under Vision Zero the lane might additionally be narrowed and the speed limit reduced, to prevent another crash by encouraging lower speed.

vision zero

In Sweden roads have many speed bumps and raised crosswalks, and the speed limit is 19 miles per hour. The chance of someone dying is significantly lower when being hit at 19 mph vs. 40 mph. Also, there are separate bike lanes for cyclists.

In U.S., New York adopted Vision Zero in 2014, and the results show that traffic fatalities have declined since then.  The speed limit in NY has been lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph, and police are enforcing speed limits citywide. Other traffic calming measures include creating more bike lanes, educating public about safe driving habits, redesign dangerous intersections, and installing speed cameras.

Other cities in U.S. that adopted Vision Zero are Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, San Mateo, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Washington D.C., and Fort Lauderdale.

Let’s hope we will adopt Vision Zero in every city in the U.S. and we will see a major decrease in traffic deaths and injuries. Or better yet, many more people will feel safe enough to walk and bike more often.





GMTMA Third Annual Safe Routes to School Bookmark Contest

17 Feb

Greater Mercer TMA’s (GMTMA) third annual Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design contest is now underway.  Mercer County and Ocean County students in third through fifth grade are eligible to show their love of walking by creating a bookmark with the theme “Walking is fun for all … winter, spring, summer, or fall.”

2016 Bookmark slide


The winning bookmark designs will be printed and distributed to area schools and local libraries.  Each winner will also receive a $50 gift card.  For more information about the contest and the Safe Routes to School Program, go to

Submission deadline is March 20, 2016! Bookmark entry forms are available at

Love Yourself – Make Your Commute Better

11 Feb

The average American spends more than 50 minutes each day commuting to and from work.  If you live in NJ and commute to NY or Philadelphia, you probably spend more than 50 minutes one way.  This can add up and over time can have an impact on your health and your relationships.  From increased levels of stress to not having enough time to exercise and not being able to spend enough time with your family, all of this can take a toll on your health and well-being.

Image shared from

Image shared from

When it comes to commuting, shorter is better. But if you don’t have that option how about making  it easier?

Here are a few suggestions:

  •  See if it is possible to work from home when the weather is bad, alleviating the uncertainty that we all feel when traveling in less than perfect conditions.    See if you can carpool or vanpool with someone from work. Sharing the ride will relieve the stress of driving every day.  (We can help you look for a carpool)
  •  If you take public transit, you can spend commuting time reading, listening to music, or listening to a podcast.   Click here for a list of popular podcasts.
  • Try to commute at alternate times so you can avoid the heaviest traffic and shorten your commute time.
  • Be an active commuter. Research shows that people who walk or bike to work are happier than people who drive.  If your commute is long, you can try biking or walking part of the way and then taking public transit. (We can help with that too)

We hope this helps! If you have any tips on how you make your commute easier please let us know, we would love to share them on our blog.


February is Heart Month, Your Yearly Reminder to Love your Heart

4 Feb


February is Heart Month.  The American Heart Month and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Million Hearts launched the Million Hearts Initiative in 2012. The initiative aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 and offer the following recommendations:

–    Understand the risks

–    Get up and Get Active – at least 30 minutes for several days per week

–    Know your ABCS: Aspirin therapy, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol measurements, Stop Smoking

–    Eat a healthy diet

You can find more information in this campaign fact sheet.

In addition to following these recommendations, it is also important to recognize the symptoms and know what to do if it happens to you.

How to recognize a heart attack

Heart attack symptoms in women and men differ, with women being more likely to experience shortness of breath while men typically experience chest pains.  Here are some of the symptoms:


–    Shortness of breath with without chest pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the chest that is intermittent or lasts for a few minutes.

–    Pain or discomfort in arms, jaw, neck, back, or stomach, nausea/vomiting

–    Breaking out in a cold sweat

Men :

The typical heart attack symptoms in men are chest pain, chest discomfort or pressure. Other less common symptoms include discomfort in arms, jaw, neck, back, or stomach, nausea/vomiting, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.

What to do if you have a heart attack

If you or someone you are with experiences the symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 right away.  Do not drive yourself or someone else to the hospital unless you have no other options.  Emergency medical services are equipped to treat the victim on the way to the hospital.

What to do if you have a heart attack when driving

If you experience symptoms, pool over in a safe area, call 911 immediately. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital unless that is the only way to get help.

-Chew an aspirin

-Try to calm down, breath deep and slow

-Cool your body’s temperature

While these actions help, they will not stop a heart attack. Your safest bet is to get to a hospital as soon as possible.

It’s also important to know that you have some control over your heart health.  Small lifestyle changes, like choosing active transportation, can have huge health benefits.  Being active doesn’t need to be time set aside for exercising.  You can easily add active time to your day by choosing to walk or bike rather than drive for short trips, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walking to the bus stop or from a distant parking spot to the station counts too—and it all adds up to better heart health!