This internship combines many of my passions in the planning field: bicycle and pedestrian planning, public space, and transportation equity. Long before joining the LADOT Vision Zero team, Vision Zero was already a part of my studies at UCLA. For one of my courses, I wrote a research paper on equity and enforcement related to Vision Zero. In another class, I conducted a spatial analysis of tree cover density and collisions along the High Injury Network, which are corridors in the City that have a higher incidence of severe and fatal collisions. I wanted to see if there was a possible correlation between increased tree cover and decreases in collisions, as many of the corridors in the High Injury Network lack tree cover when compared to other streets in Los Angeles. My analysis found that where there is less tree cover there are also more collisions
In my first week at the LADOT, as a Student Professional Worker, I have gotten to see firsthand the dedication the Vision Zero team has to incorporating all stakeholders into the goal of zero traffic deaths. When Mayor Eric Garcetti signed Executive Directive 10, in August 2015, enacting the Vision Zero initiative, it brought many of the City’s departments together to work towards a common goal. This broad structure of the Vision Zero team is complicated but necessary in order to have everyone play a role and have their voice heard.
The LADOT team is in constant communication with other city departments, community advocacy groups, and cities around the country also working towards Vision Zero. I recently attended a Core Team meeting that brings LADOT together with the Police Department, Bureau of Engineers, Department of Public Health, and the Vision Zero Alliance, made up of community advocacy organizations. This bi-weekly meeting creates space for stakeholders, with different lenses and expertise, to share their ideas and challenges and collaborate towards realizing Vision Zero. The topic of this meeting was how the LAPD is updating their software and methodology of how they collect data on collisions, traffic stops and interactions with the public. Once the update is complete, their data will be more robust and easier to share. This will help us know the exact spot where collisions happen and provide more detailed characteristics of the individuals involved in interactions with police.
I also participated in a Vision Zero Network (link) webinar on Vision Zero and equity. Vision Zero cities across the country shared stories on how to make sure health and social equity are front and center in pursuing zero traffic deaths. The conversation took on issues such as historical discriminatory police practices and disinvestment in communities with the highest rates of collisions. Participants talked about the need to create a more open dialogue with communities, strengthen communities’ relationship with law enforcement, and present easily digestible data. My busy week of meetings also included a roundtable discussion about advancing health equity through Vision Zero, hosted by the Prevention Institute, a public health non-profit that helped the Vision Zero Los Angeles team create the Vision Zero Action Plan. The discussion built upon our conversation with the Vision Zero network but focused on how we can improve equity outcomes of Vision Zero in Los Angeles
It’s a work in progress emphasizing equity across Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation of Vision Zero, but this team is genuinely putting in the work, and I’m excited to be a part of it.