Back to top

Guidelines for traffic engineers, contractors, and developers

Guidelines for traffic engineers, contractors, and developers

We have a number of rules you need to follow if you want to use the City’s streets.

NEED TO BLOCK OFF A STREET OR SIDEWALK?

If you need to restrict access to a section of a street or sidewalk in Boston for your project, please read through our guide on how to get a Street Occupancy Permit.

We also offer guides to traffic engineers looking to create safe and efficient designs for the City:

Still have questions? Contact:
Transportation
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026
United States
Want more info?

If you want to dive into deeper detail about Boston’s traffic rules and regulations, we also have an extensive traffic guide.

Zoning Board of Appeal guidelines

We want your project to fit the neighborhood you plan to build in, while also making the best use of the land.

The Zoning Board of Appeals adopted our guidelines for developers in 2003. Although we created the guidelines to help the board make its decisions, we recommend you follow in your projects.

If your project follows the Large Project review process, you will need to get a Transportation Access Plan Agreement. If you are building a structure that takes up a gross floor area of 50,000 or more square feet, it’s considered a Large Project.

Off-Street Loading

Does your project have an off-street loading site?

We have guidelines for how you should set up loading points. The goal is to make things as efficient as possible, while minimizing the effect on pedestrians and traffic.

Keep in mind
  • You will need to get our approval for the size of the trucks you plan to use to load and unload. We’ll need to see a site plan that includes the truck turning path into the loading site. You need to create the plan at a 1:20 scale.
  • You will also need to be able to answer the questions in our Off-Street Loading guidelines. If your plan is approved, a engineer signs and stamps your plans.
Installing Traffic Data Devices

If you want to install a device to track and study traffic data, there are some strict guidelines. Every side of the device needs to have your company’s name and a 24-hour telephone number to reach the device’s owner. The print needs to be big enough to read from a distance.

Seven days before you set up the device, you need to put together a list that contains:

  • the locations and color of the devices
  • a sample of the print size and type on each device, and
  • any other useful information to help identify the devices.
Give us your information

Bring that list to the Transportation Department in Room 721 and the Public Works Department in Room 714 at Boston City Hall:

1 City Hall Square
Boston MA 02201
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

If you change your devices or move them around, you need to let both departments know. If you have any questions about the program, call the Transportation Department at 617-635-4680.

Boston's complete streets

The Transportation Department is leading an effort to give pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users the access to City streets that car drivers enjoy. We hope to create streets that are great publics spaces and last a long time.

We’re also searching for innovative ways to address climate change and promote healthy living. Learn more about Boston’s complete streets.

Disclaimer

You can only use the information on our website as a reference. If you rely on it for your business, the City of Boston can’t be held accountable if you suffer any financial losses.

You can use these plans and specifications to guide your work, but they are not official City documents.