Pasadena Department of Transportation Explains New Approach to Addressing Traffic Collisions and Pedestrian Deaths – Pasadena Now

At a city committee meeting Thursday, Department of Transportation officials provided details of their new approach to mitigating the rising numbers of collisions and pedestrian deaths in Pasadena.

Joaquin Six, deputy director of the city’s Department of Transportation, described what is known as the “Safe System Approach.”

Six said the multi-level plan is based on engineering, education, encouragement, implementation and evaluation.

He said the department believes the program has already reduced traffic crashes in Pasadena, but that pedestrian deaths are on the rise.

The Safe System approach aims to eliminate fatal and serious injuries to all road users. It does so with a comprehensive view of the system of methods that firstly anticipates human error and secondly, keeps the effect of energy on the human body at acceptable levels.”

He said the approach is built on the following core beliefs: death/serious injury is unacceptable, humans make mistakes, humans are weak, responsibility is shared, safety is proactive, and redundancy is crucial.

This approach is based on these elements: safe road users, safe vehicles, safe speeds, safe roads, and post-collision care.

Implementing a “secure system approach” requires a move away from many traditional security models, Six said.

Rather than preventing collisions, this approach seeks to prevent fatalities and serious injuries and instead of improving human behavior, the Safe System Approach is designed for human errors and limitations.

Whereas the traditional approach focuses on speed control, the new approach focuses on reducing the kinetic energy of the system—and while the traditional system asserts that some individuals are responsible for street accidents, the new approach aims to share responsibility among system users, managers, and others.

Rather than responding based on the history of the crash, Six said, the new approach proactively identifies and addresses risks.

“I was very pleased to read this report,” said Blair Miller of the Whole Streets Coalition. “The initial review looks very promising and we very much look forward to supporting the city in its efforts in this matter.”

Pasadena resident David Chang said, “I would like to thank the commissioners and the department for taking this approach which I think is very helpful. It reminds us that the problem of safe streets and whole streets has many solutions—all of which need to work together in tandem.”

The presentation was delivered as an informational item only and did not require action from the committee.

Transportation Director Laura Rubio-Cornego said the DOT will return to the committee to submit the same report in the future to inform incoming new members of the committee and get feedback.

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