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Road to Zero: FDOT’s Strategic Plan Unveiled at Regional Summit

Transportation partners from across Central Florida recently convened for FDOT’s inaugural Safety Summit, which was held at the Port of Call ballroom at SeaWorld Orlando. This event highlighted FDOT’s Strategic Safety Plan, which provides a framework for collaboration on their Target Zero campaign to reduce serious injuries and fatalities from traffic crashes to zero. The summit drew a diverse group of attendees, including elected officials, law enforcement officers, engineers, and representatives from transportation planning organizations throughout District 5, covering Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia Counties.

The opening speakers highlighted the devastating impact of traffic crashes on victims, their families, and the wider community. Real stories from throughout Central Florida were shared, illustrating the profound effects of these incidents, including the response efforts from the community and planning organizations to reduce the frequency of serious crashes as FDOT strives toward a future with zero fatalities.

Replicas of sea stars were placed as centerpieces at the attendee tables, and sea stars were themed throughout the Summit materials in reference to the story of the Star Thrower. In this story, an old man questions whether a young lady’s efforts to save beached sea stars will make a difference. She responds, after tossing another sea star into the water, “It mattered to that one.” The sea star symbolized the summit’s message, underscoring the significant impact that saving a single life can have on a family and community.

A panel discussion featured speakers throughout District 5, including elected officials such as Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore, Marion County Commissioner Craig Curry, and Cape Canaveral Council Member Don Willis. Attendees engaged with the panel, posing critical questions about traffic safety. Emily Bush, Executive Director of Bike/Walk Central Florida, inquired about micromobility infrastructure in Central Florida, particularly with the rise of electric bikes and scooters in the region. This panel discussion culminated in a keynote address from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, who spoke about the state of traffic safety in the region.

The Summit concluded with an award ceremony honoring traffic safety leaders throughout FDOT District 5. Bike/Walk Central Florida was recognized for their work with the Best Foot Forward (BFF) program, which doubled its county partners this year with support from FDOT. The initial BFF program launch into Brevard, Marion, and Volusia Counties included the evaluation of 35 crosswalks and collaboration with ten additional law enforcement agencies to enhance pedestrian crosswalk safety operations. Additional award recipients included key Best Foot Forward Partners such as:

  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • City of Casselberry
  • Laura Hardwicke, City of Orlando
  • Space Coast TPO
  • City of Ocala
BWCF Executive Director Emily Bush poses with award recipient partners: Kelly Brock (City of Casselberry), Shelby Villatoro (Space Coast TPO), and Laura Hardwicke (City of Orlando)

This Safety Summit not only celebrated the remarkable achievements in traffic safety but also reinforced the commitment of Central Florida’s communities to achieving the goal of zero traffic fatalities. These collaborative efforts demonstrate a unified dedication to making the roads safer for everyone, ensuring a common vision toward this goal. As the Target Zero campaign progresses, the partnerships and initiatives recognized at this summit will continue to drive forward the mission of saving lives on Central Florida’s roads.

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