For this installment of Stories from You, we're excited to feature a story from Courtney Aguirre, Program Manager with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Courtney leads SCAG's Go Human, a community outreach and advertising campaign with the goals of reducing traffic collisions in Southern California and encouraging people to walk and bike more. The campaign aims to create safer and healthier cities through education, advocacy, information sharing and events that help residents re-envision their neighborhoods.
This summer, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Go Human team had an ambitious goal: host 12 virtual Traffic Safety Peer Exchanges. Home to roughly half of the entire state’s population, the SCAG region faces serious traffic safety challenges.
The agency reports that each year, on average, nearly 1,500 people die, 5,500 people are seriously injured, and 124,000 people sustain injuries in traffic collisions in the region. Collisions are occurring in every community in the region, from Thousand Oaks in Ventura to El Centro in Imperial. However, the vast majority of fatal and serious injury collisions – almost 70 percent - occur on local roads.
SCAG anticipates that as the region emerges from the pandemic, the rates of fatalities and serious injuries may continue to rise, particularly if people shift away from using public transit or shared vehicles.
A Pivot to Online During COVID
Originally imagined as in-person events, SCAG shifted its Peer Exchanges to an online format. SCAG is now more than halfway through its twelve-part Go Human Traffic Safety Peer Exchange series. These virtual sessions have brought together partners and practitioners from public agencies, non-profit organizations, and the community to share their experiences and insight on addressing some of our region’s most pressing traffic safety issues. In June, SCAG held five sessions that covered topics such as high-injury networks, safety funding, and community engagement.
Speakers for these sessions included UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) Senior Program and Policy Analyst Katherine Chen and Co-director Jill Cooper. Katherine Chen participated in Using Data to Craft a Safety Narrative: High Injury Networks (HIN) which also featured Eric Dunlap from Los Angeles County Public Works, Jesse Mintz-Roth from the City of San Jose, and Kevin Shin from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). Jill Cooper was part of the More than a Checkbox: Better Community Engagement panel and shared information about the Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training program. Other speakers included John Yi from Los Angeles Walks, Monique López from Pueblo Planning, and Ata Kahn from the City of Pomona.
SCAG and Go Human have a full line-up of incredible speakers for the second half of this virtual summer series on traffic safety. Upcoming sessions will focus on safety issues across the six-county SCAG region, from rural and agricultural communities to suburban and urban communities.
These regionally-focused topics create space for a deeper dive into the traffic safety issues facing communities. Upcoming events include speakers from organizations like The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, The Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and LA Metro’s Office of Equity and Race. These events also feature city staff and elected officials from Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, Redlands, Long Beach and more.
Also, do not miss out on the Reimagining Community Safety event on July 23, 2021. In partnership with APA California, this event will focus on discussing how communities are reconsidering the traditional role of the police in traffic enforcement.
If you missed a session, check out the presentation materials and recordings on SCAG’s website.
Register today and see how you can help eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in your community!
The Traffic Safety Peer Exchanges are supported by funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This Stories From You was coordinated in collaboration with UC Berkeley SafeTREC. The opinions and perspectives expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of SafeTREC.