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Traffic Collisions

Variable Definitions:

Total Vehicle Collisions: The number of collisions involving a vehicle in an area

Collisions Involving Pedestrians: The number of collisions involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in an area

Collisions Involving Cyclists: The number of collisions involving a vehicle and a cyclist in an area

Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS)

Years Available:
2010 – 2020

Methodology Note:

The original data comes at the point level. Our team geocoded the locations to generate X/Y coordinates, then spatial joined each point to 2020 Census Tracts.

Why are these variables important to measure?

Traffic Collisions

Traffic collisions that result in fatal injury are most commonly caused by speed, turns, and driving under the influence. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists carry the highest risk for fatal injury in the event of a traffic collision. A high number of traffic collisions involving pedestrians or cyclists in a neighborhood may be an indication of a need for more crosswalks, bike lanes, and other pedestrian and cyclist transportation resources in that area. 

Although fatalities decreased 5% across the State of California between 2018 and 2019(CA OTS, 2022), more recent data has suggested an uptick in traffic collision-related deaths post-pandemic. Compared to Sunbelt metros, the nation’s major metro regions (i.e. LA, Bay Area, Chicago, and Washington) do fare safer on a per 100K capita basis. Nevertheless, highly populated cities bear a greater risk of collisions and tend to report at higher numbers.
According to the 2019 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) report, LA County has historically accounted for the largest number of fatal crash injuries in California by far, peaking at 782 fatalities in 2016. In response, the City of Los Angeles rolled out Vision Zero in 2017 and continues to revise this strategy to date. Vision Zero is a directive to prioritize human life within the design of city streets and identify ways the public and government can collaborate to reduce traffic deaths to zero by 2025. 
Written by Kyra Chan


California Office of Traffic Safety. (2022). California Traffic Safety Quick Stats. CA OTS. Retrieved December 14, 2022, from https://www.ots.ca.gov/ots-and-traffic-safety/score-card/

Los Angeles Department of Transportation. (2016, March). Collision and Countermeasure: Literature Review.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation. (2017, January). 2017 Vision Zero Action Plan. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://ladotlivablestreets-cms.org/uploads/cb1ecdfacabb4bcd97c922382b165e79.pdf

Metropolitan Transportation Commission & Association of Bay Area Governments. (2017, January). Fatalities from Crashes. Vital Signs. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov/fatalities-crashes

Reynolds, S. J. (2021, March 30). Vision Zero Implementation Strategy – Calendar Year 2021.

Smith, D. (2022, January 9). Hundreds died in L.A. traffic crashes in 2021. Is Vision Zero a failure? L.A. Times.

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