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Street safety toolkit

Learn about the different tools we can use to address safety concerns.

The Boston Transportation and Public Works Departments design streets to improve safety for people walking, biking, and driving on streets. 

The City of Boston uses many tools to improve safety and comfort on City streets. Not every tool works on every street. Sometimes multiple tools are used in the same location. It all starts with an understanding of the concerns and issues in a specific location or on a certain street.

Below, we share some of the common tools we use. In some places, we will use a combination of these tools. We may also use other tools on a case-by-case basis.

Still have questions? Contact:
Transportation
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026

We start with your safety concerns

Common safety concerns
Safer crossings

When you tell us about a crosswalk that feels unsafe, we have a set of tools we could use to make things better. We listen to you, collect data, conduct observations, and propose the best tool (or tools!) for the job.

Safer turns

Many residents are concerned about intersections. We have different tools to help make them safer. Some tools also slow speeds or create safer crossings.

Safer speeds

We hear your concern about drivers going too fast. We have different tools for different types of streets. All of them help to encourage slower, safer driving speeds.

Tools for safer crossings

Clear corners
Drivers are more likely to see approaching vehicles or people crossing the street. This reduces the likelihood of crashes at intersections.
Crossing island
A crossing island provides space in the middle of a crosswalk for people to pause while crossing multi-lane streets.
Curb extension
A curb extension extends the sidewalk out into the parking lane. This makes crosswalks shorter and improves visibility of people crossing.
Hardened centerline
A row of bollards installed on the yellow centerline discourages drivers from cutting turns at higher speeds.
High-visibility crosswalk
“Ladder”-style crosswalks, with thick white bars and parallel lines, are the most visible type of crosswalk marking.
In-street “Yield to Pedestrians” signs
These signs are placed on the street at unsignalized crosswalks. They remind drivers to yield to pedestrians.
Pedestrian warning sign
A yellow warning sign that draws drivers’ attention to an upcoming crosswalk.
Raised crosswalk
A raised crosswalk is about six inches tall, the same height as the sidewalk. It slows drivers and improves yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Raised intersection
A raised intersection is flush with the sidewalk. It reinforces slow speeds and encourages drivers to yield to pedestrians.
Rapid flashing beacon
A small, rectangular, bright flashing light that can be activated by a person who wants to cross the street.
Road rightsizing
Thoughtful reallocation of space on our streets can calm traffic, create safer crossings, add bike lanes, or more.
Separated bike lane
Dedicated space for people on bikes, separated from sidewalks and general travel lanes, make streets safer for everyone.
Slow turn wedge
A slow turn wedge is a combination of pavement markings, flexible bollards, and rubber or plastic curbs or bumps. They slow turning drivers to safer speeds.
Stop sign
Stop signs are used to regulate flow of people through an intersection. They are not used for slowing traffic.
'T' Intersections
Reshaping wide or irregular intersections to look more like a 'T' improves visibility and shortens crosswalks.

Tools for safer turns

Clear corners
Drivers are more likely to see approaching vehicles or people crossing the street. This reduces the likelihood of crashes at intersections.
Crossing island
A crossing island provides space in the middle of a crosswalk for people to pause while crossing multi-lane streets.
Curb extension
A curb extension extends the sidewalk out into the parking lane. This makes crosswalks shorter and improves visibility of people crossing.
Hardened centerline
A row of bollards installed on the yellow centerline discourages drivers from cutting turns at higher speeds.
Raised crosswalk
A raised crosswalk is about six inches tall, the same height as the sidewalk. It slows drivers and improves yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Raised intersection
A raised intersection is flush with the sidewalk. It reinforces slow speeds and encourages drivers to yield to pedestrians.
Road rightsizing
Thoughtful reallocation of space on our streets can calm traffic, create safer crossings, add bike lanes, or more.
Roundabout
Roundabouts have a center island, crossing islands, and curb extensions. They are designed to slow speeds and reduce serious crashes.
Separated bike lane
Dedicated space for people on bikes, separated from sidewalks and general travel lanes, make streets safer for everyone.
Slow turn wedge
A slow turn wedge is a combination of pavement markings, flexible bollards, and rubber or plastic curbs or bumps. They slow turning drivers to safer speeds.
Stop sign
Stop signs are used to regulate flow of people through an intersection. They are not used for slowing traffic.
'T' intersections
Reshaping wide or irregular intersections to look more like a “T” improves visibility and shortens crosswalks.