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Vision Zero Boston
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Detailed Action Plans

The Vision Zero Boston Action Plans take aim at the real causes of those traffic crashes. The focus is on specific steps that will make Boston’s streets more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly, as well as safer for drivers.

By tackling speeds and redesigning roadways, reducing distracted and impaired driving, creating a culture of empathy, and holding ourselves accountable for achieving the Vision Zero goal, we will ensure Boston’s place among the world’s most livable cities long into the future.

ACTION PLAN TO REDUCE SPEEDS AND BUILD SAFER STREETS

Whether driving a car or truck, walking across the street, riding a bike, or skateboarding, higher speeds dramatically increase the number and severity of crashes. Speeding traffic, on main roads and neighborhood streets, decreases the quality of life and discourages walking and bicycling. Boston’s street design toolbox contains numerous traditional and innovative techniques to reduce conflicts.

We are committed to area-wide speed reduction through a combination of street design and enforcement strategies that put safety first.

Street Design - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Applying traditional and innovative techniques to reduce speed and conflicts on current planning and capital projects. This includes creating protected facilities and intersections and adjusting signal timing and phasing to separate turning movements.
  • Focusing on Massachusetts Ave and Codman Square for rapid implementation of low-cost, high-impact improvements.
  • Conducting safety assessments with the Vision Zero Boston Task Force.
  • Using existing powers given to the Boston Transportation Commissioner to designate 20 MPH school zones and safety zones where lower speeds are desired.
  • Developing the Neighborhood Slow Streets program for residents to apply for a suite of traffic calming measures for their neighborhoods. Streets will be designated for 20 MPH.
  • Finalizing the new Green Links program that will connect every neighborhood to the city’s extensive park and greenway system by way of low-stress, traffic-calmed streets, and local trails.
  • Implementing the Boston Bikes Network Plan throughout the city.
  • Piloting new camera technology to anonymously count the movements of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians over time to inform planning decisions.
  • Including protected bike facilities and more pedestrian-friendly streetscapes in capital reconstruction projects such as Connect Historic Boston and the redesign of Commonwealth Ave in order to improve safety for all users.
  • Working with the Public Works Department (PWD), Boston Public Schools, and BPHC to implement roadway design changes to support Safe Routes to Schools.
  • Pilot the Neighborhood Slow Streets program in the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle in Dorchester and the Stonybrook neighborhood in Jamaica Plain. Launch full program later in the year.
  • Identify locations for Rapid Implementation projects based on crash data, resident requests for Neighborhood Slow Streets, and crowd-sourced data from interactive safety maps. Implement changes in fall 2016 or spring 2017.
  • Implement 10 miles of high-priority projects on the Boston Bike Network and develop a five-year rolling Action Plan to increase the number of miles of high-quality bike facilities.
  • Create a Safe Crossings program to implement improved bicycle and pedestrian crossings of major streets including criteria for unsignalized, signalized, and mid-block crossings.
  • Grow the interagency Safe Routes to School program and make streets safer near 6 schools.
  • Identify locations for improving safety at intersections by installing physical protection for people walking and riding bikes.
  • Update the City’s policy on traffic signals to shorten signal cycles, change the default settings to “walk”, extend crossing times where needed, implement more leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), and better manage turning movements for the protection of pedestrians.
  • Identify winter maintenance benchmarks and create a comprehensive plan for snow clearance of bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and access points to bus stops.

Enforcement - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Continuing a data-sharing partnership with WAZE that enables the City to evaluate before/after impacts of design changes on congestion. WAZE also provides and audible reminder to drive safely at crash-prone intersections.
  • Implement ideas from the recently completed pilot Red Light Compliance Study which identifies a number of actions that can be taken to reduce violations, including greater use of LPIs, restricting right turns on red, reducing signal cycle lengths, providing automatic recall for pedestrian indications, and adding bicycle signals.
  • Launch high-visibility enforcement campaigns against speeding, red light running, and failure to yield. Campaigns will focus on high-crash locations and priority areas established by the Vision Zero Boston Task Force.
  • Support bills in the state legislature to reduce the city-wide default speed limit to 25 MPH.
  • Increase the use of variable message signs and speed radar display to discourage speeding.
  • Explore the effectiveness and barriers around automated enforcement technologies to crack down on dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, red light running, and failure to yield to pedestrians. Also explore drunk driver ignition interlock laws and increased fines for distracted driving. The City will identify if policy changes are needed for implementation.

ACTION PLAN TO REDUCE DISTRACTED AND IMPAIRED DRIVING

Attitudes towards drunk driving have altered dramatically over the past three decades, and while it still happens, it is significantly less common and is generally considered to be socially unacceptable. The advent of new technology, innovative vehicle designs, and mobile devices has brought with it new challenges – the scourge of distracted driving, for example – that traffic safety professionals agree can be as much of a threat as drinking and driving.

The City’s commitment to reducing distracted and impaired driving is focused on both the driver and the vehicle itself. This requires a broad range of public information and education backed up by a robust enforcement program and the use of new technology and innovation.

Education & Enforcement Programs - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Addressing motorists who are distracted, operating under the influence, or failing to wear seat belts through enforcement by BPD.
  • Providing helmets and lights to people riding bikes through ongoing campaigns with universities led by BPD and BPHC.
  • Encouraging safe bicycle riding and driving behavior around bicyclists through ongoing education and training lead by Boston Bikes.
  • Creating a pedestrian safety training video that can be used by police departments across the state during roll call in an initiative lead by WalkBoston in partnership with the Boston Police Academy’s E-Learning Team as part of MassDOT’s bicycle and pedestrian safety, awareness, and enforcement program. Recent videos about bicycle safety made by MassBike in collaboration with the MBTA and the Boston Police Academy will serve as models.
  • Run a series of hard-hitting Public Service Announcements and media campaigns to alert Boston drivers to the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. Develop similar campaigns to address walking and riding a bike while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Promote late-night transit, taxi, rideshare, and other services that provide multiple alternatives to driving for people who are unfit to operate a vehicle.
  • Work with WalkBoston to produce and disseminate a pedestrian safety video.
  • Target education to specific vulnerable populations, including the elderly, youth, people in treatment, and the homeless.
  • Target campaigns to educate bus drivers, truckers, and the owners and operators of fleet vehicles about Vision Zero and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
  • Work closely with the BPD and BTD to ensure communities are informed of upcoming safety improvements to roads.
  • Continue to partner with universities and community organizations on helmet and bike light giveaways.
  • Implement high-visibility traffic enforcement campaigns at 10 high-crash intersections city-wide. The intersections will be determined using crash data compiled by BPD.

Truck Safety - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016

In 2013, the City of Boston took a leadership role in tackling the problem of truck safety. After a series of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists being dragged underneath large trucks, the City piloted the use of truck side guards, as well as cross-over and blind spot mirrors on city trucks. In 2014, the City passed an ordinance requiring their use on city vehicles of a certain size as well as vehicles used by city contractors.

This proven and simple fix to a well-documented problem should not be confined to just city vehicles in Boston. In the fall of 2015, the Mayor requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pass a similar regulation for all relevant trucks to be fitted with this life-saving equipment as a standard design. He also supports legislation at the state level to require side guards and blind spot mirrors on trucks.

The City will encourage all truck owners who operate in the City of Boston to voluntarily install side and under-run guards and cross-over and blind spot mirrors on their vehicles.

  • Include Blind Spot awareness in ongoing public information and education programs, including live demos with truck drivers and bicyclists/pedestrians switching roles.
  • Explore the ways in which Vision Zero Boston can be integrated into freight management and safety programs.

ACTION PLAN TO ENGAGE BOSTONIANS IN VISION ZERO

The Vision Zero Boston campaign must be a city-wide conversation in 2016. While a lot can be done through street design, increased enforcement, and traditional public information campaigns, much of the initiative’s success rests on the ability of Bostonians to change the way they behave when they are behind the wheel of a car.

Driving is an important and integral part of the City transportation system – Vision Zero Boston doesn’t change that or limit people’s freedom to drive their cars. Vision Zero respectfully ensures that freedom is appropriately balanced with the need everyone has for safe and livable streets. That’s why the Vision Zero Boston Action Plan includes a year-long outreach and public education component, together with a series of measures that will bring home just how closely traffic safety issues affect us all every day.

Community Engagement - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

Making it Personal

Every fatal or serious crash has a victim – not a statistic or a number, but a real person. That person has a family and friends who are deeply affected by a tragic death or debilitating injury. The City is committed to working with families who wish to tell their story in the media and in the community. By putting a face and a name to these awful events, we reinforce the reality that traffic safety hits close to home for all of us – and that we all have an important role to play in achieving Vision Zero.

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Continuing to conduct planning initiatives – for example, Go Boston 2030, Neighborhood Slow Streets, Green Links, and the Boston Bike Network Plan – with extensive public input and stakeholder inclusion.
  • Including members representing WalkBoston and the Boston Cyclists Union among the The Vision Zero Boston Task Force.
  • Developing solutions in priority areas – such as Massachusetts Ave and Codman Square – and conducting initial audits in these areas with the assistance of community representatives.
  • Put Vision Zero on the agenda of all the City’s public, community group, and stakeholder meetings in 2016 to share the goals of the initiative and learn more about the ways in which traffic safety affects Bostonians.
  • Gather input and feedback on the steps being taken to achieve Vision Zero and specific traffic safety issues in particular locations.
  • Convene local stakeholders near high-crash corridors with a special emphasis on reaching vulnerable and underserved populations.
  • Empower the Vision Zero Boston Task Force members to be ambassadors for the initiative and use Healthy Community Champions to reach populations who are often unable to attend community meetings.
  • Ensure that all of Boston’s population is being engaged by using a multiple language community outreach campaign.

ACTION PLAN TO HOLD OURSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

There are no shortcuts or compromises in achieving the goals of Vision Zero Boston. The metrics are very simple: one fatality or serious injury in traffic is too many. The goal is zero by 2030.

Data Collection - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Publishing reports on 2014 crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians through an effort by Boston EMS.
  • Creating an independent report on truck crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians on identified high-crash corridors.
  • Using existing data to identify high-crash locations and potential focus areas through ongoing work by the Vision Zero Task Force.
  • Move to electronic crash reporting, and change reporting system to meet state requirements.
  • Conduct more detailed geographic and demographic analysis of crash data from prior years.
  • Launch online, interactive crash data site.
  • Invite public input on the Vision Zero map to identify high-stress and dangerous locations.

Sharing Information - Click here to read what we’re doing now and in 2016

What we’re doing now What we’re doing in 2016
  • Developing a Vision Zero Boston website.
  • Creating interactive maps of crashes.
  • Invite the public to identify stressful and dangerous locations via online maps and at community events. Make the map available at community meetings and promote it at public libraries and community-based organizations.
  • Prominently display the annual number of fatal and serious crashes that occur on Boston streets.
  • Highlight the number of days since the last traffic fatality on the city website and in city buildings.
  • Publish an annual report to measure progress against the goals of the Action Plan. Establish interim benchmarks leading up to the 2030 goals.
  • Update crash map on a monthly basis.
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