Introducing our New Student Professional Worker – Jordan Fraade

It’s been two weeks since I joined the Vision Zero team as a Student Professional Worker, and as with any new job, there’s a lot to process: acronyms, names, workflows, strategic plans, and so on. I’m studying how decisions are made inside local government and in consultation with communities, reading up on what parts of the city are most at risk for traffic fatalities, thinking about how Los Angeles can link its Vision Zero program up with those in other cities — in short, there are a lot of moving parts and we have a lot of work to do in the year ahead. I’m excited to be a part of it.

Around the office I frequently hear my new colleagues use the phrase “culture change” to describe what we’re trying to do. In other words, Vision Zero isn’t just about redesigning streets and painting stripes on pavement (though that’s certainly part of it) — it’s about changing the way Angelenos view streets, shifting our worldview away from “roads are for cars only” and towards “roads are public spaces for everybody.” At a meeting last week I had the opportunity to see this culture change happening in real time. For a couple hours, transit planners and LADOT engineers gathered to discuss how to improve safety on one of the City’s 40 Priority Corridors (identified in the Vision Zero Action Plan as streets with the greatest need for safety improvements). The proposed street safety improvements were laid out on huge sheets of paper, and marked up with notes and symbols that I hope I’ll be able to instantly recognize sometime soon. Engineers and planners explained the changes they thought might make each street safer, debating among themselves and swapping ideas back and forth. And that’s only one step of the process: Once the technical studies are done, we’ll be working with community organizations and City Council offices to gather input and ensure our plans meet the needs of Angelenos who use these streets everyday.

Watching the discussion unfold over each crosswalk or protected left turn, I marveled at the combination of technical and policy expertise that got us to this point. Projects like a Leading Pedestrian Interval at one intersection and a scramble crosswalk at another may seem small in isolation. Taken together, though, they reflect an important truth about our work: Transportation isn’t just about moving vehicles, it’s about moving people.  So I’m excited to be a part of a team that’s dedicated to this vision and helping Los Angeles become a safer, more sustainable city.


Introducing Our New Student Professional Worker – Lauren Ballard

After only my first five minutes as a Student Professional Worker (SPW) in LADOT’s Active Transportation Division, it was clear that 2017 is Vision Zero LA’s year of action. Mayor Garcetti declared Los Angeles a Vision Zero city in August 2015, and, since then, the department has assembled a Vision Zero team that has meticulously studied, planned, and prepared for this moment, releasing in January the Vision Zero Action Plan, announcing partnerships for community-based education campaigns in February, and presently designing projects to put into the ground later this year.

As an SPW, my primary role will be supporting the Vision Zero outreach and education campaigns. My first week here has been spent diving into a Coro Fellows Report on best practices Vision Zero literature and getting acquainted with campaigns carried out by other Vision Zero cities. Among the many not-so-fun facts I learned: males aged 18-54 are over five times more likely than females to be the at-fault party in collisions causing death or serious injury (“KSI” collisions); unsafe speed and inattention are two of the top factors in KSI collisions; KSI collisions are concentrated in Central Los Angeles, including DTLA, South LA, Westlake, and Pico Union; and these areas of concentration also score high on the Community Health and Equity Index. Utilizing this data, best practices literature, and interviews with local stakeholders, the report develops three core messages specific to Vision Zero LA: 1) public streets are community space; 2) you are responsible for others’ safety; and 3) transportation is about moving people (not just cars).

With that in mind, I shifted my focus to the community-based outreach and education campaigns currently in development. After reading through creative and diverse draft outreach plans, I’m really excited to work with these community groups to fine tune their outreach plans, get the word out about Vision Zero, start changing  behaviors and perceptions surrounding traffic safety, and work together toward the goal of zero traffic deaths by 2025.

P.S.  If you are interested in how other cities around the world promote Vision Zero,  I found a sample of clever, effective ads addressing dangerous driving behavior including an anti-drinking and driving ad out of New Zealand and an Australian ad addressing reckless driving and posturing called “the pinkie campaign.” I highly recommend giving both a watch.