Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety

WalkBoston works to make walking safer with the goal of reducing the number of pedestrians injured and killed in crashes in Massachusetts. To accomplish this we join forces with many state agencies, municipal staff, community-based organizations, advocacy groups and individuals who share this goal. Our key strategies for improving safety are described below.

Vision Zero

One person killed or seriously injured on Massachusetts’ roads is too many. As a founding member of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition and a leading voice on the City of Boston’s Vision Zero Task Force and the Cambridge Vision Zero Advisory Committee, WalkBoston advocates for the implementation of built environment improvements to increase safety for pedestrians in high crash locations.

Neighborhood Slow Streets

The City of Boston’s Neighborhood Slow Streets program addresses traffic calming on residential streets to reduce the number and severity of crashes, lessen the impacts of cut-through traffic, and add to the quality of life in our neighborhoods. WalkBoston offers technical assistance to Boston neighborhoods interested in applying to the program and to support efforts in those neighborhoods already selected for the Slow Streets program.

Crash Monitoring

WalkBoston tracks pedestrian fatalities across Massachusetts through a robust monitoring of news reports. This information is more timely and more detailed than the tracking that is available through state or municipal sources. Looking at these links will give the reader a powerful sense of why we need Vision Zero, and all of the safety efforts that WalkBoston undertakes.

Walk audits

We conduct walk audits in high-crash locations across Massachusetts to identify and prioritize infrastructure improvements to increase pedestrian safety. WalkBoston has received funding through the MassDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Program and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to work in 25+ communities so far. The infrastructure fixes identified in these walk audits have informed Complete Streets Prioritization Plans and have led to funding through MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program

Signal timing

Waiting for a WALK signal is a common frustration for people everywhere. Traffic signals may provide a phase for people to walk either when all approaches are stopped (exclusive phase), or when walkers can walk with traffic moving parallel to them (concurrent phase). A well-coordinated, consistent system of traffic signals allow pedestrians adequate time to cross the street while minimizing wait times for all road users.

WalkBoston continues to work to address signal timing issues in the City of Boston and other municipalities. Traffic signal operations are one of the pedestrian infrastructure elements that we evaluate during walk audits and other on-street assessments. Boston’s signal policy was updated in July 2018 and it leaves much to be desired. More information on WalkBoston’s ideas for improving signal timing in Boston can be found here.