Safety

Image: Banner Safety Collage

Southern California is home to roughly 19 million people, about half the entire state’s population, and 15 million licensed drivers. We rely on our cars, buses, rail lines, bicycles, and feet to get around. And we’re getting around a lot. We travel more than 440 million miles every day. That’s equivalent to 17,911 trips around the world every day. The thing is, we aren’t going around the world. We’re going to work, the grocery store, to visit our grandma, and to our child’s soccer game.

With all that traveling, it’s not surprising that mistakes are getting made. At the wrong moment, we might take a quick glance at a text message, rush to make it through a traffic signal, or forgo the intersection to cross midblock. The consequences of these mistakes can last a lifetime.

On average, each year in Southern California, 1,500 people are killed, 5,200 are seriously injured, and 136,000 are injured in traffic collisions. These numbers represent children, parents, spouses, relatives, and friends. These are people who were going about their typical day—again, heading to work, the grocery store, and to visit grandma. Collisions are happening in every community in our region, from El Centro in Imperial County to Malibu in Los Angeles County. They are happening to people from all walks of life, to those who drive and to people who walk and bike.

The State of California, SCAG, and local governments are committed to ensuring transportation safety for all people in our region. Each year, metropolitan planning organizations such as SCAG work with the state to develop annual safety targets to comply with federal requirements. We work together to assess fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads and set safety targets at the statewide and regional levels.

We endeavor to use information and data to help us make better transportation decisions that result in fewer fatalities and serious injuries. We want to find solutions to make the region safer for everyone. The first step is to acquire a perspective on our existing conditions. Specifically, what is happening? Where is it happening? When is it happening? Who is it happening to? And, most importantly, why is it happening? We developed a Transportation Safety Regional Existing Conditions Report to provide answers to some of these questions. We also publish a Connect SoCal Transportation Safety & Security Technical Report every four years. We plan on updating our Existing Conditions report in spring 2021 with additional years of data.

Transportation Safety County Fact Sheets are also available:

Each February, SCAG's Regional Council approves safety targets for the current calendar year. Since we began doing this in 2018, our targets have been consistent with and supportive of Caltrans' established targets. The current regional safety targets aim to reduce fatalities by a minimum of 3.03% and serious injuries by a minimum of 1.5% per year to reach the goal of Towards Zero Deaths by no later than 2050.

SCAG’s 2020 targets are as follows:

Number of Fatalities:

1,607

Rate of Fatalities per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT):

0.96

Number of Serious Injuries:

5,735

Rate of Serious Injuries per 100 million VMT:

3.42

Number of Non–motorized Fatalities and Non–motorized Serious Injuries:

1,915


Regional High Injury Network

High injury networks (HINs) include stretches of roadways where the highest concentrations of collisions occur on the transportation network. The HIN is intended to show where fatal and serious collisions are occurring in the region. The HIN, however, is not an assessment of whether a street or location is dangerous. Rather, the HIN suggests which corridors within a transportation network carry a higher risk of injury. When developing an HIN, jurisdictions typically want to identify a subset of the network where the most collisions are occurring (>50%). Developing an HIN can prove helpful for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Determining geographic areas where crashes are concentrated, and the causes of these crashes, so that efforts can be focused on the most challenging areas and crash factors.
  • Strengthening collaboration to focus street improvements and education campaigns (e.g., Go Human) along the HIN.
  • Prioritizing investments within these areas to reduce collisions.

Through case studies from the Cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Oregon Metro, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, SCAG developed a methodology to map a regional HIN. To identify where most of the collisions are occurring, SCAG created an HIN at a regional scale utilizing a five-year dataset from U.C. Berkeley's Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS 2010-2014). This interactive story map identifies the high injury network for the SCAG region by modes. Although SCAG’s Regional Safety Existing Conditions Report provides crash rates at the regional and county levels, the HIN is not normalized by vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or by population, as would be done to create crash rates. The HIN crash scores are purposefully not normalized by VMT or population because the intent was to identify corridors with the highest concentrations of serious injury and fatal crashes, compared to the rest of the county, no matter the number of VMT or population. This intent is tied directly to achieving our Towards Zero Deaths-related safety targets and to help local jurisdictions focus on improvements where they are most needed. SCAG has identified cities in our region that are a part of SCAG’s high injury network. SCAG aims to work closely with these cities to identify safety concerns, reduce fatalities, and serious injuries, and in turn achieve our regions safety targets. While developing HIN at a regional level helps in identifying cities in the SCAG region with safety concerns, it is recommended that cities develop an HIN at the city level to identify concentrations of collisions. Details on High Injury Network mapping are provided in the Transportation Safety and Security Technical report (linked above) on the Connect SoCal website.

View HIN Interactive Story Map