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Peter G Furth
Policy Briefing to Boston City
Council’s Committee on Parks,
Recreation, and Transportation
January 5, 2017
...
We Have a Huge Traffic Safety
Problem
Boston
2-3 EMS responses per day
to pedestrian or bike crash
15 deaths per year
US
3...
3
Deaths and Injuries Aren’t the Only
Measure of Unsafety
Vulnerable users are shut out
• Children walking to school has f...
Where it’s safe, people will ride
4
Bicycle use
(km / person / year)
Cyclist deaths per
billion km ridden
If we’d improved as Netherlands did,
we’d be saving 20,000 lives per year
5
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
1965 1970 1975 1980 1...
6
Traffic Safety Programs
• Sweden: Vision Zero
(1997)
• Netherlands: Sustainable
Safety (1997)
• US: Toward Zero Deaths
(...
Europe’s Vision Zero:
What Are the Values?
Value # 1: Safe Mobility is a Civil Right
7
8 ft wide platform makes this bus
s...
Value # 2: The road system owner is responsible
for ensuring road safety
Bus stophome
2011: Mother found guilty of vehicul...
9
Value # 3: Traffic safety programs must be pro-
active, eliminating safety risks before they cause
serious injury or dea...
Why Do Traffic Injuries Happen?
• Humans are vulnerable
– Clear implications for speed and for separation
• Humans make mi...
Principles of Systematic Safety
1. Speed control and separation
2. Functional harmony
3. Predictability and Simplicity
4. ...
A Policy / Action Plan for Boston
for implementing Systematic Safety
1. Speed control
2. Road diets
3. Separation and reco...
Action Plan #1: Speed Control
a. Target speed policy
Road type Target
Speed
Local streets 20 mph
Other streets with
closel...
b. Treatments to achieve speed targets
Road type Target
Speed
Treatments
Local
streets
20 mph Speed humps, STOP signs, chi...
Speed control treatment for 1+1 lane roads:
crossing islands with a chicane effect
Speed control for 1+1 lane roads
39 ft
Bus
stop
Curb
parking
Dudley Street, Roxbury (Google Maps)
30 ft
Bus
stop
Kraneweg, Grongingen, Netherlands
Bus stop
Treating Dudley Street with crossing island chicanes
- Safer street
- Safer crossings
- Lose a few parking spaces
Intersec...
“Neighborhood Slow Streets,” a pilot
program, was budgeted for 2 small
neighborhoods in 2016
c. Implementation – Budget & ...
Action Plan #2: Road Diets
• Convert 2+2 lanes to 1+1 lanes, with turn
pockets so that turning vehicles don’t block a
lane...
Road Diet: candidate streets
1. Tremont St, South End
2. Beacon St, Back Bay
3. Mass. Ave., Newmarket (Melnea Cass to
Colu...
Action Plan #3: Separation and
Recognizability for Bikes
Road type Preferred separation
Multilane roads and greenway route...
• Advisory bike lanes
for minor collectors
– Walworth St
(Roslindale)
– Perkins St (JP)
– Parker St (near
Wentworth)
b. En...
• Contraflow
– With a marked
contraflow lane
– Without
b. Engineering innovation
Brookline, MA
c. Recognizability: Colored bike lanes
Action Plan #4: Safe Crossings
a. Policy on unsignalized crossings
– Never cross more than 2 through lanes at a time
– Pre...
b. Raised crossings for cycle tracks at
unsignalized intersections (Western Ave.,
Cambridge)
c. Signal timing policies for...
Action Plan #5:
Long term policies for reducing vehicle
dependence
• Rational parking pricing
– current pilot program in B...
Changing the Culture
• In the Netherlands, “Sustainable Safety” has
taken over transportation planning and
engineering
• I...
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  1. 1. Peter G Furth Policy Briefing to Boston City Council’s Committee on Parks, Recreation, and Transportation January 5, 2017 Systematic Safety: The Principles Behind Europe’s Vision Zero
  2. 2. We Have a Huge Traffic Safety Problem Boston 2-3 EMS responses per day to pedestrian or bike crash 15 deaths per year US 35,000 deaths per year
  3. 3. 3 Deaths and Injuries Aren’t the Only Measure of Unsafety Vulnerable users are shut out • Children walking to school has fallen from 50% (1960) to 10% • Bicycling is limited to a hardy few Source: People for Bikes
  4. 4. Where it’s safe, people will ride 4 Bicycle use (km / person / year) Cyclist deaths per billion km ridden
  5. 5. If we’d improved as Netherlands did, we’d be saving 20,000 lives per year 5 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Trafficfatalitiespermillionresidents USA Netherlands 110 37
  6. 6. 6 Traffic Safety Programs • Sweden: Vision Zero (1997) • Netherlands: Sustainable Safety (1997) • US: Toward Zero Deaths (2009 / 2015) • US Cities: Vision Zero
  7. 7. Europe’s Vision Zero: What Are the Values? Value # 1: Safe Mobility is a Civil Right 7 8 ft wide platform makes this bus stop “accessible”, per ADA Meanwhile, the nearest crossing is 0.3 miles away! (Google Maps)
  8. 8. Value # 2: The road system owner is responsible for ensuring road safety Bus stophome 2011: Mother found guilty of vehicular homicide for crossing this street with her son. 1788 Austell Road, Marietta, Georgia (Google Maps) If our road system were treated like any other industry, it would be shut down immediately for gross safety violations
  9. 9. 9 Value # 3: Traffic safety programs must be pro- active, eliminating safety risks before they cause serious injury or death. Reacting to historic crashes: necessary, but not sufficient Data collection and analysis: valuable, but no excuse to delay action A Tremont Street intersection treated after a pedestrian was injured. What about the other intersections just like it?
  10. 10. Why Do Traffic Injuries Happen? • Humans are vulnerable – Clear implications for speed and for separation • Humans make mistakes – A system that is safe only as long as people don’t make mistakes isn’t a safe system – Implications for roadway design • This leads to 5 principles of Systematic Safety that underlie Vision Zero in Netherlands 10
  11. 11. Principles of Systematic Safety 1. Speed control and separation 2. Functional harmony 3. Predictability and Simplicity 4. Forgivingness and Restrictiveness 5. State awareness 11
  12. 12. A Policy / Action Plan for Boston for implementing Systematic Safety 1. Speed control 2. Road diets 3. Separation and recognizability for bikes 4. Safe crossings 5. Long term policies for reducing auto use 12
  13. 13. Action Plan #1: Speed Control a. Target speed policy Road type Target Speed Local streets 20 mph Other streets with closely pedestrian crossings 25 mph … Different from a speed limit
  14. 14. b. Treatments to achieve speed targets Road type Target Speed Treatments Local streets 20 mph Speed humps, STOP signs, chicanes*, neighborhood traffic circles 1+1 lane streets 25 mph Crossing islands with a chicane* effect Multi-lane streets 25 or 30 mph Traffic signal timing that limits speeding opportunities *Chicane = obstructions that force drivers to turn / slalom
  15. 15. Speed control treatment for 1+1 lane roads: crossing islands with a chicane effect
  16. 16. Speed control for 1+1 lane roads 39 ft Bus stop Curb parking Dudley Street, Roxbury (Google Maps)
  17. 17. 30 ft Bus stop Kraneweg, Grongingen, Netherlands
  18. 18. Bus stop
  19. 19. Treating Dudley Street with crossing island chicanes - Safer street - Safer crossings - Lose a few parking spaces Intersection to intersection: 345 ft Island to island: 200 ft
  20. 20. “Neighborhood Slow Streets,” a pilot program, was budgeted for 2 small neighborhoods in 2016 c. Implementation – Budget & Staffing What pace of implementation will the City support?
  21. 21. Action Plan #2: Road Diets • Convert 2+2 lanes to 1+1 lanes, with turn pockets so that turning vehicles don’t block a lane • Smaller is better – Speed control – Safer crossings – Create space for bike lanes • Promoted nationwide by FHWA
  22. 22. Road Diet: candidate streets 1. Tremont St, South End 2. Beacon St, Back Bay 3. Mass. Ave., Newmarket (Melnea Cass to Columbia Rd) 4. Southampton Street, Newmarket (Melnea Cass to I-93 ramps) 5. Cambridge Street, Beacon Hill 6. Cummins Highway 7. Washington Street, West Roxbury 8. Morton Street south of Gallivan Blvd 9. Centre Street, West Roxbury 10. Martin Luther King Blvd 11. Malcomb X Blvd 12. Day Blvd (DCR) 13. Truman Parkway / Brush Hill Rd (partly in Milton) (DCR) Truck unloading on Cambridge St (Beacon Hill) during the a.m. peak Tremont St, South End
  23. 23. Action Plan #3: Separation and Recognizability for Bikes Road type Preferred separation Multilane roads and greenway routes Separate bike path 1 + 1 lane roads bike lane OK except in commercial areas where parking pressure is strong, where a separate bike path is preferred Unlaned roads with ADT < 3000 Mixed traffic Unlaned roads with ADT > 3000 Advisory lanes a. A policy on preferred form of separation
  24. 24. • Advisory bike lanes for minor collectors – Walworth St (Roslindale) – Perkins St (JP) – Parker St (near Wentworth) b. Engineering innovation Hannover, NH
  25. 25. • Contraflow – With a marked contraflow lane – Without b. Engineering innovation Brookline, MA
  26. 26. c. Recognizability: Colored bike lanes
  27. 27. Action Plan #4: Safe Crossings a. Policy on unsignalized crossings – Never cross more than 2 through lanes at a time – Prefer crossing 1 lane at a time – Zebra striping – Treatments to improve compliance • Beacons • Raised crossings • In-street yield signs
  28. 28. b. Raised crossings for cycle tracks at unsignalized intersections (Western Ave., Cambridge) c. Signal timing policies for improving pedestrian and bicycle safety – No permitted lefts on multilane roads – Preference to short cycles (less priority to coordination) – Avoid forcing peds to make multi-stage crossings
  29. 29. Action Plan #5: Long term policies for reducing vehicle dependence • Rational parking pricing – current pilot program in Back Bay and Seaport • Better transit – Transit priority treatments • Transit-oriented development
  30. 30. Changing the Culture • In the Netherlands, “Sustainable Safety” has taken over transportation planning and engineering • It’s worth it! 31

systematic safety - action plan for boston

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