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Mayor Walsh Announces the Release of the City of Boston's Vision Zero Action Plan

December 9, 2015

Transportation

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Transportation

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the release of the City of Boston's VisionZero Action Plan. The plan outlines the City of Boston's commitment to providing safer streets for all users of the city's roadways, including working towards preventing serious crashes and eliminating traffic-related fatalities on local streets.  

"Our Vision Zero Action Plan outlines a thoughtful strategy to improve roadway safety and put the City of Boston on track towards eliminating all traffic-related fatalities on our streets," said Mayor Walsh. "Ensuring the safety of all of our residents and visitors is a top priority and it is important that we continue to make strides in creating better and safer streets across our city."

"The safety of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and drivers is paramount," said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets. "Many partners, inside and outside of city government, worked hard on developing this plan; we look forward to working even harder putting it into action."

The Action Plan focuses on four core areas: implementing street design changes, tackling the issue of distracted and impaired driving, engaging Boston residents across all neighborhoods, and collecting and sharing data related to these efforts.  Highlights of the Vision Zero Action Plan include the following.

  • Emphasis will be placed on implementing design changes to lower speeds and create safer street crossings. These changes will be incorporated directly into the blueprints for the construction/reconstruction of neighborhood streets.
  • City of Boston officials will advocate at the state level to lower Boston's default speed limit.
  • Options to reduce the incidence of distracted and impaired driving will be explored.
  • Data will be used to identify streets and intersections that need improvement.
  • "Rapid Implementation" changes will be made in the short term, and long term changes will also be pursued.
  • The location of crashes that take place on Boston's streets will be posted on the project website with information being updated monthly.

"The underlying theme of Vision Zero is that serious injuries and fatalities resulting from traffic crashes are preventable through effective policies, engineering, community engagement and enforcement," said Gina N. Fiandaca, Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department. "Together with our Task Force partners, BTD is committed to using all available resources to provide local streets that pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle drivers may all travel on safely."

"The Boston Police Department is prepared to support Mayor Walsh's Vision Zero Action Plan," said William Evans, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department. "Too often we see the tragic results of crashes which could have been avoided. We are committed to making city streets as safe as possible for all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists."

Currently, Boston's Emergency Medical Services responds to calls for assistance from an average of two to three pedestrians or cyclists each day who have been in crashes.  In the last four years, 79 people have been killed while walking, bicycling or driving on Boston's streets.

"Motor vehicle and other transport-related crashes are a leading cause of death in Boston," said Dr. Huy Q. Nguyen, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. "Boston EMS and the Injury Prevention Program at the Boston Public Health Commission are proud to help make our streets and thoroughfares safer for all pedestrians, cyclists and drivers through Mayor Walsh's Vision ZeroAction Plan and Task Force."

Boston's Transportation, Public Works, Public School and Police Departments, as well as the Boston Public Health Commission and Emergency Medical Services are represented on the Vision Zero Task Force.  Other members include representatives from Walk Boston and the Boston Cyclists Union. Livable Streets and the rest of the Vision Zero Coalition have also contributed to the agenda of the Task Force.

"PWD is pledging to do our part to meet the goals of Vision Zero," said Michael Dennehy, Commissioner of the Boston Public Works Department. "We are researching updated engineering and construction ideas and technology that will help us to build streets and intersections that are safe and convenient for everyone."

The Task Force, which includes the Department of Innovation and Technology, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, has collected and shared pertinent data since it was formed by Mayor Walsh in March of this year. Members have also collaborated on cross-departmental strategies to improve safety, ranging from the simple act of handing out helmets and lights to people who ride bikes, to studying new technologies to manage speeds, to evaluating the use of speed humps in residential neighborhoods and ongoing campaigns aimed at reducing distracted and impaired driving.

"Though EMS will always be there to provide the best care possible to those injured in roadway incidents, our goal is to use this manually reviewed cyclist, pedestrian and motor vehicle data to inform injury prevention efforts and ultimately decrease or eliminate the need for emergency medical care," said James Hooley, Chief of the Boston Emergency Medical Services Department.

"From understanding where collisions are more likely to occur, to measuring the impacts of experimental interventions, data plays an important role in the City's efforts to eliminate crashes and fatalities," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Boston's Chief Information Officer. "Using this information we have built a map which visualizes, both for city planners and citizens alike, where crashes occur in our city, we have analyzed the results of interventions applied to our roadway network with an eye toward public safety, and assisted in the collection of the data which makes this work possible."

The Vision Zero Action Plan and crash map are available to view on the project website at visionzeroboston.org.