MassDOT HSIP - Pedestrian Safety

What do I need to know about the “MassDOT Highway Safety Improvement Plan (HSIP) – Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program”?

MassDOT has recently launched a multi-disciplined project to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety in Massachusetts (April/May 2014).  While fatalities and incapacitating injuries among motorists have been decreasing in Massachusetts over the past few years, pedestrian and bicycle crashes have not followed this trend. Through MassDOT, the Massachusetts Dept of Public Health, WalkBoston and MassBike are assisting in the development and implementation of this critical pedestrian and bicyclist safety strategy aimed at achieving the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) goal of reducing fatalities and injuries among bicyclists and pedestrians by 20% in the next 5 years. 

The program is focused initially on 12 communities which were selected based on high rates of non-motorist crashes, high rates of non-motorist activity, and participation in the Mass in Motion program (8 of the 12 communities selected are Mass in Motion communities). The community-based planning already established around issues of active transportation in MiM communities provides an excellent platform on which to build increased pedestrian and bicycle safety strategies, and bring implementation dollars to those communities poised to shift car trips to feet and bicycle miles

The 12 communities selected include: Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River, Haverhill (not MiM), Lynn, New Bedford, Newton (not MiM), Pittsfield, Quincy (not MiM), Salem, Somerville, Watertown (not MiM). 

The safety strategy has three major components:
1.     Enforcement
2.     Education/Awareness
3.     Preparation of communities for infrastructure improvements 

Police departments in the 12 selected communities have stepped-up enforcement efforts and education around hazardous pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist behavior. Police are providing those they engage with information on safe pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist practices, and officers are collecting anecdotal information as to why each individual chose risky travel behavior.  The goal is to both educate all road users about how to act safely with one another, and to identify elements of the built environment that are contributing to the promotion of risky behavior.  For example, pedestrian-activated signals with significant wait times encourage people to cross at unsafe times because it takes too long to get a WALK sign. WalkBoston will provide training to the police departments on pedestrian safety in the coming months. MassBike has distributed its “Shifting Gears: Bicyclists and Public Safety” video to all participating communities. Here is a link to the video:

WalkBoston and MassBike will develop “study tours” for participating communities where built environment examples of best practices for walking and biking safety will be illustrated. The tours will include examples from several different communities with varying settlement patterns and roadway types. 

Preparation of communities for infrastructure improvements 
WalkBoston and MassBike will conduct walk and bike audits with each of the 12 communities to identify significant pedestrian and bicycle safety issues where infrastructure improvements will contribute to safer pedestrian and bicycle environments.  Police and other municipal officials will assist in identifying high crash and/or near miss locations and known danger areas to be the focus of each audit.  WalkBoston and MassBike will prepare a report providing short and long-term recommendations to improve safety for each community.  These reports will assist in documenting the case for implementation dollars that fund infrastructure projects to increase the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Walk Assessment Tool 
WalkBoston has created an audit form that can be used for walk audits. Download it here. 

Final Reports (all reports are PDFs - you can click for a popup viewer, or right click and "Save Link As" to download). 
Wollaston (Quincy, MA)