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Vision Zero Boston

The Evolution of Vision Zero Boston

Boston is a city of many “firsts” in transportation.


Pierre Lallement, a Boston resident from 1865-91, received a patent for the invention of pedals and crank arms that revolutionized the velocipede and enabled the modern-day bicycle to emerge.


The Tremont Street Subway became the nation’s first subway.


The City built the nation’s first underwater mass transit tunnel.

1880s and 1890s

The City was also a pioneer in recognizing the importance of open space and livability. Visionaries such as Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Eliot designed the Emerald Necklace and the Metropolitan Park System, including the parkways, and ensured critical access to natural environments throughout the city


Governor Francis W. Sargent stopped a plan to build the Southwest Expressway through the heart of the city and set the stage for using highway funds to build the Orange Line and the Southwest Corridor Park.


A pedestrian-friendly network of streets were built along greenways in downtown and East Boston as part of the Central Artery project.

2007 - 2013

The City has embraced the benefits of a more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly community. This was made possible by of a series of notable active transportation policies, plans, and programs, including the adoption of a Complete Streets approach to street design, the construction of numerous public spaces that are safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, the creation of the Boston Bikes program in 2007, and the launch of the Hubway bike share system in 2011.


The City launched a bold new initiative to envision the future of transportation. Go Boston 2030 features new forms and unprecedented levels of public engagement. The draft Go Boston Vision Framework, released in September 2015, focuses on broad goals and targets. An Action Plan to be released in 2016 will identify specific policies and projects to be implemented over the next 5, 10, and 15 years.

Go Boston 2030 heralded the arrival of Vision Zero Boston, one of the early action items in the Vision Framework.


March 2015

Mayor Walsh announces that the City is committed to eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes by 2030.

April 2015

BTD Commissioner Gina Fiandaca instructs City staff to replace the word “accident” with “crash”, an important practical and symbolic step in changing the way the City thinks about traffic safety.

May 2015

A Vision Zero Boston Task Force is established. Led by BTD, the group immediately identifies priority issues and locations on which to focus the city’s resources and attention. Massachusetts Ave and Codman Square emerge as high-crash areas – a fatal crash in one of these areas later in the summer confirms the need for this focused action.

Summer & Fall 2015

The Vision Zero Boston Task Force compiles and analyzes crash reports and data from the Boston Police Department and Boston Emergency Medical Services and conducts audits of high-crash locations to better understand the scope of the challenge ahead – a challenge that requires everything from legislative and policy changes, to rapid responses to crashes on the ground, to the implementation of new and improved street designs and traffic safety enforcement programs.
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