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Boston’s progress towards roadway safety

Goal is to eliminate crashes that result in serious or fatal injuries and to make the streets safer for everyone

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Boston is making good progress towards its traffic and pedestrian safety goals
Boston is making good progress towards its traffic and pedestrian safety goals

The US city of Boston has published an update on roadway safety initiatives completed over the past year, as well as work that is ongoing in the US city.

 

The 2017-2018 Vision Zero Boston Update report highlights initiatives of the Boston Transportation Department such as reducing the default speed limit, implementing the Neighbourhood Slow Streets programme in two zones, improving priority corridors and targeted intersections, and prioritising projects to address inequality in transportation.

 

Go Boston 2030

 

Vision Zero is an “early action” item of Go Boston 2030, the city’s long-term transportation plan that seeks to build a safe, reliable and equitable transportation network for residents, commuters and visitors.

 

“The safety of our streets is crucial to ensure our neighbourhoods are safe and welcoming for all, and through our Vision Zero agenda, we continue to make tremendous progress towards meeting our traffic and pedestrian safety goals,” said Martin Walsh, mayor of Boston.

 

“While we know that we have more work to do to, I am encouraged by the collaboration behind our goal of eliminating crashes that result in serious or fatal injuries and making our streets safer for everyone.”

 

 

Some of the highlights of the 2017-2018 report include:

 

1 Reducing the default speed limit from 30mph to 25mph

Following the successful implementation of a citywide speed limit of 25mph, the Boston Transportation Department has worked to ensure awareness of the reduced speed limit by posting over 100 new 25mph speed limit signs at gateways on Boston-owned streets and installing 57 new digital speed feedback signs citywide that flash when the speed limit is exceeded.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study of the effects of lowering Boston’s speed limit from 30mph to 25mph. Results indicate that lowering speed limits by 5mph on city-owned streets improves safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

 

2 Implementing the Neighbourhood Slow Streets programme

Neighbourhood Slow Streets is the transportation department’s residential traffic-calming initiative. In Slow Streets zones, the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph and self-enforced by physical changes to streets, such as adding speed humps or curb extensions. Zones are annually selected from neighbourhood applications based on objective criteria including crash history, higher percentage of vulnerable residents (including youth, elders, and people with disabilities), and proximity to public places such as schools, parks and libraries.

“Of the 58 policies and projects highlighted in Go Boston 2030, action has been taken on more than half of them”

3 Focusing on equity and prioritising projects to address inequality in transportation

A framework for equitable decision making is a guide developed this year by the city to follow when planning Vision Zero safety improvements. The focus is on people who have greater vulnerability when using city streets, locations where people gather, such as, schools, parks and job centres, streets that have experienced crashes and streets with similar physical characteristics of these streets.

 

“Of the 58 policies and projects highlighted in Go Boston 2030, action has been taken on more than half of them,” said Chris Osgood, chief of streets, Boston.

 

“Like Vision Zero, many of these initiatives are multifaceted and require a great deal of coordination with neighbourhood residents, government agencies at the city and state level, and transportation advocates. I’d like to thank all who have helped us to advance Vision Zero in Boston and I look forward to continuing this valuable collaboration in the future.”

 

Carbon neutrality

 

In a separate announcement, Boston is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to facilitators, designers, and technical experts to help it create an implementation roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality. The city is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

 

The city is asking for submissions that lay out a “thoughtful, creative and equitable approach” to the update process of the city’s Climate Action Plan. Consultant teams will need to demonstrate how their proposal engages diverse communities and results in a final plan that not only advances Boston’s climate goals but is also fair and accessible.

 

Boston said it wants to work with key partners and community groups to develop implementation roadmaps for its highest-priority actions and is looking for “skilled facilitators” who can guide those conversations and help create roadmaps that will steer implementation of its next steps over the coming years.

 

For more information, visit: Request for Proposals. Questions about the RFP will be accepted until 9 October 2018. On that same day at 10am (EST), a question and answer conference call (that is optional) will be hosted for those submitting proposals. Submissions to the RFP are due 26 October 2018.

 

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