Vision Zero Los Angeles at TRB

Vision Zero Lab members Jacqui Swartz and Tim Black recently attended the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board to present some of our work on Vision Zero in the City of Los Angeles and get a snapshot of other important transportation work happening throughout the country.

Our Posters

We had two posters showcasing some of the work we have been doing at LADOT in support of Vision Zero, the campaign to reduce the number of traffic deaths. The first poster gives an overview of the corridor prioritization process. ( paper / poster)

The second poster reflected work that was done to improve the process for deploying conventional safety engineering measures. Within the overall Vision Zero engineering framework, this project would perhaps best be categorized as ‘doing what we already do, but better.’ ( paper / poster )

When not presenting, we spent the rest of the time checking out other interesting research / projects occurring throughout the country (and world). Here is a roundup of our favorites:

Other Posters

Left-Turn Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Study: NYCDOT gave a poster presentation on the left-turn study that was already released earlier this year as a pdf presentation. Even though we were already familiar with the work, this was still one of the best looking posters and one of the more relevant posters pertaining to our work in LA. ( paper / poster )

Netherlands High-Speed Corridor Intersection Treatments: The presenter showed off what was being done in the Netherlands right now along high-speed arterials: a combination of (1) speed limit reductions at intersections and (2) slightly raised intersections to support the speed reduction. Rather than allowing cars to barrel down these roads once they get the green wave, this combination of engineering and policy forces them to slow down at the approach of each intersection. I was most interested in the idea of a lowered speed limit at intersections, but this probably requires a legislative amendment at the state level to enact. ( paper / poster )

Improvements to Statewide Collision Reporting to Understand Sidewalk-Related Bicycle Collisions: This was a very simple survey that looked at which state crash forms allowed for the researcher to be able to tell whether a bicycle rider was on the sidewalk or not. ( paper / poster )

Improvement of Crash Data Collection, Processing and Analysis by a Web-Based Software: This poster presented a complete process for collecting, storing, and analyzing crash data. In California, with the SWITRS format, we’ve mostly figured out the right structure for storing the data. Hopefully we, along with other cities, can improve the data collection process (still using paper, yikes!) and the Vision Zero work in Los Angeles is already focused on the third part, analyzing data. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these topics, but this paper would be useful to anyone who is still trying to wrap his/her head around collision data. ( paper / poster )

Presentations

Vision Zero in US Cities: The General Managers from the Departments of Transportation in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco made up a panel discussion on the progress of Vision Zero in U.S. cities. They specifically discussed the challenges of moving from planning to action, and we (Los Angeles) shared some of the innovative ways we are connecting to the public through art with our Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence.

Enhancing Efficiency Through Information-Sharing Tools in a Public-Sector Environment: This was a great way to learn about what other agencies are doing to coordinate work and efficiencies through the use of data and data-driven information.

Transportation and Public Health: Effects that transportation can have on public health by reducing transportation related casualties, providing easy access to healthcare services, mitigating environmental impacts, and reducing the transmission of communicable diseases. Partnership between ODOT & OHA developed to model and identify was is being done in active transportation to improve health and start to show the value of those benefits.

Vision Zero High Injury Network Prioritization

At the May 17 convening of the Vision Zero Task Force, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) presented a new version of the High Injury Network (HIN) map. This new map includes a new score for each intersection to begin to prioritize Vision Zero efforts in Los Angeles.

LADOT has been undertaking a technical collisions analysis as part of the initial steps towards a Vision Zero work plan. This analysis seeks to find patterns among the various collisions along the HIN to better inform approaches to engineering, education, and enforcement. However, while the HIN represents only 6% of the city’s street network, at roughly 450 miles there is still need for additional location prioritization.

Thus, the Vision Zero team developed a series of six potential location-based priorities for developing a “intersection score” to begin to prioritize locations along the HIN, listed below:

  • Severity: Locations with the highest amount of severe or fatal injury (KSI) collisions
  • Vulnerability: Locations with KSI collisions that involve older adults or children
  • Social Equity: Locations within traditionally underinvested in or underserved communities
  • Geography: Locations that have the most collisions in an Area Planning Commission, Council District, or other zones
  • Dangerous Behavior: Focus on locations that involve KSI collisions resulting from dangerous behavior
  • Low-Cost, Low-Complexity: Focus on locations that can be easily fixed through low-cost and low-complexity countermeasures.

These six potential priorities were put to a survey with the Vision Zero Alliance, the Vision Zero Executive Steering Committee, the Vision Zero Task Force, the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committees, and each of the City Council offices. Additionally, the Vision Zero Alliance distributed the survey in an online setting to their network.

After 522 online surveys, 62 in person surveys, and a variety of in-person feedback, LADOT received the following results:

Safety Priority Combined Weighted Score
Severity 0.478
Vulnerability 0.361
Social Equity 0.333
Dangerous Behavior 0.303
Geography 0.273
Inexpensive & Simple 0.252

 

Based on this feedback, the following methodology was developed for scoring each intersection on the HIN

Intersection Score = count_fatal_ksi*1.5 (weighted higher for severity) + count_severe_ksi (raw value) + child_senior (0 or 1 if child/senior was present in KSI) + target_community (0 or 1 if location in target community)

This new map has afforded each of the Vision Zero Subcommittees the ability to zero in on locations that are higher priority. Stay tuned for the launch of the Vision Zero Action Plan, which will include a prioritized list of corridors and intersections on this map.

Other interesting facts:

The highest scoring intersection, at 7.5, was Bonnie Brae / Olympic.

No one intersection had a severe/fatal count higher than 7 (from 2009 – 2013)

Only 46 intersections involved more than 1 child/senior in a KSI collision

CORO Fellows draft Vision Zero Education Strategy

The Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs is a rigorous and demanding program designed to give fellows real-world experience working within local government to design and research innovative policies. This year, Vision Zero was very fortunate to be partnered with two Coro Fellows who were tasked with drafting our Education Strategy. Over the course of five weeks, Rachel Keyser and Julia Gould worked tirelessly to develop this report which includes interviews with 46 Los Angeles stakeholders, a literature review, and numerous key insights into how we can best message Vision Zero in Los Angeles in order to create culture shift. This report will serve as an indispensable resource for our education sub-committee, our communications consultant, and ultimately our Vision Zero Action Plan.

Three “guiding principals” were used in developing the report’s purposes:

  1. Increase overall awareness of Vision Zero, the issue of traffic safety, and impacts of dangerous road behavior;
  2. Facilitate a Los Angeles culture shift toward shared responsibility in road safety, the preventability of traffic deaths, and the idea that even one traffic death is unacceptable;
  3. Motivate safer traffic behavior among all those who travel in Los Angeles, with emphasis on demographics most likely to exhibit dangerous behavior.

 

In addressing these principals, the report developed an extensive methodology aimed at finding the most efficient and effective ways of educating people about Vision Zero. By combining qualitative data from interviews, quantitative data from an in-depth analysis of crash statistics, and supplemental information from Vision Zero campaigns in other cities, the report provided the following recommendations:

  1. Use multi-faceted mediums, message-tested content, grounded in behavior change theory to target high-risk populations and behaviors at both the individual and institutional levels.
  2. Mass-media and on-the-ground education efforts will need to be tailored to specific population segments based on campaign priorities and additional market research.
  3. Messaging content should stem from the underlying factors that drive dangerous behavior, as well as barriers to the successful adoption of Vision Zero core principles.
  4. Overall, the campaign should seek to not only raise awareness of Vision Zero, but change behaviors through shifting social norms around transportation and traffic safety.

 

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Vision Zero Los Angeles at Big Data Big Cities Conference in Toronto, ON

From June 12 – 15 2015, Vision Zero Los Angeles took part in the first ever “Big (Transportation) Data Big Cities” Conference in Toronto, ON, hosted by the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto. The Toronto Transportation Services Department has recently developed a data analytics group, under General Manager Stephen Buckley and led by Jesse Coleman, who put the conference together.

The days’ events focused on the growing use of “big data” in transportation departments, academia, and industry. The first day of moderated sessions primarily focused on industry’s approach to transportation data, and included presentations from companies like IBM, TomTom, Thales and Here. There was a robust back-and-forth discussion on the challenges for industry to meet the needs of the public sector.

The second day of moderated sessions included mainly public sector and academic presentations, with no one from industry in the room. This allowed for candid conversations about how transportation departments are incorporating big data analyses into their workplans, and the challenges of recruiting technical staff to the public sector.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) was represented by Jay Kim, Assistant General Manager for Mobility Management, George Chen, lead engineer of the ATSAC research team, and Nat Gale, Principal Project Coordinator in the Active Transportation Division. George presented on the history and current use of the ATSAC data, and Nat presented on Vision Zero’s assembly and analysis of collision data, as well as a few recent use cases. Overall, the conference provided an important starting point in what will be an on-going discussion on the role of cities in the big data movement. The final day involved a discussion around next steps, including the desire to develop more opportunities for knowledge-sharing and developing data standards. Stay tuned for what comes out of this group!

 

Vision Zero receives City’s First Artist In-Residence

The City of Los Angeles recently hired its first artist-in- residence, Alan Nakagawa, as part of Mayor Garcetti’s plan to embed new creative energy into City departments. Mr. Nakagawa will work with the Department of Transportation focusing exclusively on Vision Zero, the City’s ambitious goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025. A critical piece to the strategy of getting to zero includes changing the culture surrounding traffic collisions, which are still often dismissed as unavoidable “accidents.”

Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, realizes this potential of art to achieve this change. “Vision Zero is a bold goal: zero traffic fatalities by 2025, which will require conventional tools like engineering and enforcement, as well as unconventional tools like art and storytelling. We plan to infuse art into the design and function of the public realm to create safe, beautiful, great streets.”

Mr. Nakagawa’s training is in studio arts, sound, and public art. His most recent position was as a Senior Public Arts Officer for LA Metro, and his past experience includes working with hundreds of communities across Los Angeles and multi-disciplinary public transportation design teams. He is the first artist in the Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence Program, developed by the Department of Cultural Affairs to connect Angelenos with Mayor Garcetti’s vision for a safer, more sustainable, and dynamic Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles Vision Zero at Peds Count! 2016 Conference

Vision Zero Los Angeles recently presented as part of panel at the Peds Count! 2016 Summit hosted by California Walks in Long Beach, California. The Vision Zero panel, moderated by Leah Shaum of the Vision Zero Network, included members of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH), the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Advancement Project, and Walk San Francisco.

Members of the Vision Zero Los Angeles team, including Kim Porter of LACDPH and Jacqui Swartz of LADOT, presented on the cross-departmental collaboration and the use of data to drive the location prioritization process in Los Angeles.