The Pedestrian Battle of Los Angeles
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Pedestrian Battle of Los Angeles


The road safety Vision Zero policy of the City of Los Angeles is failing to prevent pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries. Since its implementation in 2015, tragic pedestrian crashes are increasing annually. This research studies the socio-demographic profiles of these pedestrians victims of traffic violence at the neighborhood level, and the political obstacles that prevent the redesign of the streets form the murderous car-oriented status quo to a peaceful people-oriented built environment. First, I assess the correlation between non-white, polluted census tracts, and pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries, and find that it is positive and statistically significant. At the same time, the median income, vulnerable age, and the number of cars in a household does not have a statistically significant relationship with pedestrians' road safety. I also found that in the City of LA, black people are only 8% of the population, but 20% of all pedestrian fatalities, being the ethnic group more overrepresented. Then, through interviews and a literature review, I identify the principal political obstacles to implementing pedestrian road safety infrastructure. There is a constant backlash from car-oriented neighbors, and the authorities are failing to support residents who demand pedestrian improvements. Based on the research, my main policy recommendation is to revive and strengthen the Vision Zero Dignity Infused Community Engagement strategy (DICE) of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). This program should continue building power and developing capabilities in communities, especially in historically underserved areas, towards a critical mass of residents fighting for safe streets.r

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