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.