Policing Vision Zero: Using Community Engagement to Craft Equitable Traffic Safety Strategies

Research Team: Rabi Abonour (lead) and Evelyn Blumenberg

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: Traffic violence is a serious issue; 40,000 people were killed in car crashes in the U.S. in 2016. Cities are turning to Vision Zero to make streets safer. Vision Zero plans in the U.S. have traditionally been organized around a set of principles known as the “Three E’s”: engineering (of streets), education (of road users), and enforcement (of traffic laws). The last prong, enforcement, has become controversial in the Black Lives Matter era. People of color are disproportionately likely to be pulled over while driving, but planners continue to include traffic enforcement in Vision Zero plans. Activists concerned with overpolicing of communities of color are often skeptical of this strategy and have tried to push cities to minimize police involvement in traffic safety plans.

Project Description: This project explores the planning process through case studies of Vision Zero cities, interviewing planners, policy makers, and community members to address the following question: “How have Vision Zero planning efforts addressed the relationship between traffic enforcement and communities of color?” By illuminating the conflicts that can arise as these plans are created, planners can be better prepared to address the issue of racial justice and traffic enforcement.

Status: Completed

Budget: $10,176

Policy Brief(s):