Alta Planning + Design supported a UCLA grad student, Rabi Abonour, in a research project to examine how racial justice concerns around enforcement practices ties into Vision Zero policies and projects.
As a street safety advocate, Rabi spent several years organizing around Vision Zero. While he agreed with many of the principles of the program, he began to question the role of traffic enforcement and its application in communities of color. When he learned that Alta was interested in collaborating on a project about equity-focused Vision Zero planning, he saw a great opportunity to work through these issues.
The team used the task force model of community engagement that cities often use to develop Vision Zero programs. They conducted case studies of four cities (Los Angeles; CA, San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; and Portland, OR), interviewing city staff and local activists.
In the end the team found a variety of factors that prevent equity concerns from being fully reflected in Vision Zero plans: resource constraints, unbalanced task force membership, poorly defined stakeholder roles, and strained inter-agency coordination. Rabi then proposed a set of steps that he believes can improve the process.