Reducing the Risk of Collision Between Cars, Cyclists

A Los Angeles Times article on “dooring,” the collision caused when a car door is opened in front of an oncoming cyclist, cited Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin. The impact can lead to serious injuries, and cyclists and transit advocates call for greater awareness and better road infrastructure to reduce the risks. Some roadways feature green bike lanes, but Brozen said “protective infrastructure” — buffer zones that separate cyclists from parked cars and traffic — would further increase bicycle safety. At issue is the “political battle over convenience or delay for vehicles over the safety of people biking and walking,” Brozen said. “It’s really at the whim of the council member and the council member’s office to decide whether they’re willing to take on those battles or not.”


Bringing Shade to Bus Stops Across L.A.

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin, spoke to LAist about new funding to build more bus shelters in the city of Los Angeles. The Sidewalk and Transit Amenities Program will add 3,000 bus shelters and 450 shade structures to the city over the next 10 years, part of an initiative to help Angelenos withstand the impact of climate change, Mayor Karen Bass said. Brozen welcomed the announcement. “Extreme heat kills more people than any other natural disaster,” she said, adding that building bus shelters is one effective way of offering relief through shade and protecting public health. Brozen’s research has found that only about a quarter of Los Angeles Metro bus stops have shelters that provide shade, creating health risks for many of L.A. County’s most vulnerable people.


Seeking Safe Spaces for People Whose Cars Are Their Homes

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin, appeared on an episode of KQED’s Forum devoted to the growing number of people who are using their cars for shelter. Brozen shared research showing that nearly 19,000 people in Los Angeles County are living in their vehicles, many of them women living with children, or older Americans, or people who are employed yet cannot afford rent. Some municipalities have set aside areas for safe overnight parking, but Los Angeles has only 500 such parking spots. While these sites provide a short-term solution at best, Brozen called on Los Angeles to act with creativity and flexibility to allow more of its vast stretches of paved spaces to be used to keep the vehicular homeless population safe. “The more rational and compassionate approach would be to allow a space for people to really have safety and security on a path to being housed,” she said.


Brozen on Increase in L.A.’s Unhoused Living in Vehicles

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin, spoke to LAist about Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis, specifically the increase in unhoused people living in vehicles. This year’s count of L.A.’s homeless population found a slight decrease in the number of people living in tents but an overall increase that was “disproportionately driven by people living in vehicles,” with more than 14,000 cars, vans, RVs and other vehicles being used for shelter. “It’s not surprising that the population continues to grow, because we’re just doing very little to address it,” said Brozen, lead researcher on a project focused on vehicular homelessness in Los Angeles. She explained that despite being the majority of L.A.’s homeless population for years, people living in vehicles are not as visible to the public as those living in tents on sidewalks and hillsides, and therefore receive less attention from policymakers and are absent in public discussions on homelessness.


Alarming Racial Gap in American Road Deaths

Research by the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was cited in a New York Times opinion piece regarding the racial gap in American road deaths. The piece brings attention to the higher rates of pedestrian deaths among Black and brown communities compared to white communities. In the city of Los Angeles, Black residents made up 8.6% of the population yet represented more than 18% of all pedestrians killed and around 15% of all cyclists killed, according to the 2020 Lewis Center policy brief authored by Madeline Brozen and Annaleigh Yahata Ekman. “For decades, the United States has prioritized the needs of people driving through cities over the well-being of the people living in them, and largely at the expense of communities with the least political clout,” the article states. It calls on cities to invest in safer road designs and speed limit enforcement to prevent pedestrian deaths.


Brozen on How to Increase Safety on L.A. Metro

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed about ways to make L.A. Metro trains safer for riders. Agency officials have added more security and transit ambassadors to create a safe environment, but Brozen also suggested looking at ways to increase ridership, as the bus system has done. “The best way forward is to take lessons from the bus and get more people on board to enforce public transit’s social norms,” Brozen wrote. “The bus system’s relationship between more riders and less crime is proof positive.” Bus ridership is 77% of what it was in the days before COVID-19, while train ridership has remained below 50% of its pre-pandemic levels. The sparsely populated cars have led to concerning behavior, with some train riders smoking cigarettes or openly using drugs.


Brozen on the Importance of Building Bus Shelters

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, spoke to dot.LA about a contract to build bus shelters in Los Angeles. Currently, less than 25% of L.A. bus stops provide shelter, leaving riders — many of them low-income people of color — to withstand high temperatures without shade. After some delays, including waiting for the city to approve a $30 million loan to start building the shelters, construction is projected to begin in the fall. “I can understand that the scale of doing bus shelters given the number of stops is really daunting. But bus shelters aren’t just a ‘nice to have,’” Brozen said. “This is really [about] protecting people’s health and welfare, and it’s important to think about the public health benefits as they’re figuring out how to address the disparity.” 


Brozen on New Metro Ambassador Pilot Program

Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, spoke to CBS Los Angeles about the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new ambassador pilot program. This program was implemented to reduce crime rates on Metro lines, which have been steadily rising since 2021. The program is one of the largest of its kind in the country, with nearly 300 ambassadors deployed throughout the Metro bus and rail system. They are specifically trained in areas including customer service, conflict de-escalation, emergency preparedness and disability awareness. “It’s just a real human touch that I think does have a lot of promise,” Brozen said.


A Call for Shelter for L.A.’s Bus Riders

A lack of bus shelters in the Los Angeles region poses a health risk to those who frequent buses, according to new research by UCLA and advocacy group Move LA that has received attention in news outlets including Los Angeles magazine, the Los Angeles Times and Smart Cities Dive. “Heat already kills more people than any natural disaster, and that’s at the levels that we have now,” said Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and co-author of the study. “It’s going to be getting worse in the future as climate change worsens and L.A. County continues to get hotter and hotter.” Without shelter, many users of public transportation are at risk of cardiovascular, kidney and respiratory disorders. Most of the city’s bus stops are located in the hottest areas where low-income people of color often reside, and the decision to provide shelter is left to local jurisdictions, Brozen explained.


UCLA Study Finds Only a Quarter of L.A. Metro Bus Stops Offer Shade

According to a new UCLA report, only 26% of Los Angeles Metro bus stops have shelters that provide shade. The figure is significant because some of the L.A. residents who are most likely to get around the city on foot or using public transportation will be among the populations who, in the coming years, will have the highest risks for death from heat-related causes. And research has demonstrated that bus shelters are a proven way to help mitigate the impact of extreme heat. In the U.S. overall, extreme heat already kills more people than any other natural disaster. And a 2020 study by the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative found that as Los Angeles gets hotter, Black, Latino and older adults will experience the largest increases in mortality due to increases in extreme heat. So researchers led by Madeline Brozen, deputy director of the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, worked in collaboration with the advocacy group MoveLA to create a baseline understanding of how prevalent shelters are for Los Angeles bus riders, especially with legislation on the topic now being considered in the California State Assembly. More than 60 transit agencies provide service to the region, but Metro is the largest and was the focus of the new study. Researchers analyzed where in Los Angeles shelters are located, measured their locations against average summer temperatures, and compared the numbers of shelters across cities and legislative districts. Interactive maps allow residents to click on an individual city to see statistics for that jurisdiction. — Claudia Bustamante

Read the full story