He may just be the most prolific traffic engineer on Twitter.

But there’s much more to Dongho Chang than his social media presence.

“For me, my job is to listen to the community, look at how things are working in the city itself, and do what I can to improve things,” he said.

Nearly 75 people packed a room at the Queen Anne Community Center last Tuesday for the latest Queen Anne Greenways public forum. The 90-minute session, titled “Building Civilizations,” covered a wide array of topics, from larger issues like the number of pedestrian and biker fatalities in recent years on city streets, to specific local topics like the speed of traffic of Third Avenue West and West Nickerson Street.

Chang, who serves as the city’s chief traffic engineer, said he “gets to experiment,” in his role, with the aim of improving safety and mobility with the help of data of feedback.

But instead of merely being reactive, his hope is to use that information to make the efforts of the city’s Department of Transportation more proactive. He noted a recent pedestrian and bike safety analysis — which looked at the character of the streets studied, the grade, and the surrounding land use — that found statistically significant variable that can contribute to certain types of collisions, and said those are the types of locations that need to be targeted for improvements.

Even if there haven’t been serious or fatal incidents at those spots yet, the data indicates the likelihood there will be unless changes are made.

That’s not to discount the importance of feedback from the community — data may be neutral but it doesn’t always speak to what the community actually wants and experiences on a daily basis — but speaks to the aim of improving safety before something happens. Past responses have been complaint driven, and he acknowledged the difficulties of moving away from that approach.

“We want to be able to proactively understand where these needs are, and be able to provide the safety resources so they don’t have to call us,” he said. “The collision doesn’t have to occur.”

The collisions that have already occurred were another major topic of discussion — as guided by moderator Mark Ostrow — with Chang acknowledging that there has been an “alarming increase” in those that are being seriously injured or killed.

“If you think about the proportion of people who are impacted … it’s really the people who are the most vulnerable,” he said.

That tied into a larger discussion about the city’s Vision Zero efforts, and the goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by the year 2030. The idea, Chang said, is to build the infrastructure that allows for mistakes but keeps them from becoming fatal.

He noted that only a tenth of serious traffic injuries occur on residential streets, and that most of those streets are narrow, preventing vehicles from reaching high speeds. But the city can’t rely on changes to the speed limit alone, he said. It’s also about putting in the engineering work, and seeing what that can do for behaviors as well.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of interest in making streets safer, and Chang said the city boasts a population that wants to use methods other than single-occupancy vehicles to get around.

“There’s all this energy from the community that wants better facilities, and you’re helping us build it,” he said.

Chang, who said he usually gets up around 2 a.m. each day, gets plenty of feedback through his aforementioned Twitter profile — @dongho_chang — and said his department has been very open to his use of the platform for public engagement.

In fact, former SDOT communications director Rick Sheridan was among those in attendance on Tuesday.

“His instincts were always spot on,” Sheridan told the crowd, as he suggested Chang should be recognized by the Municipal League as a “Person of the Year.”

That sentiment was well received by the rest of those on hand.

For more information, like Queen Anne Greenways on Facebook at www.facebook.com/QueenAnneGreenways or follow the group on Twitter at www.twitter.com/QAGreenways.