Making Our Intersections Safer
Intersections help connect people from one route to another, but they are also where most crashes occur. We are working to reduce conflicts between people driving, walking, and bicycling at intersections throughout Boston.
With our intersections program, we will design 25-30 intersections each year using street safety tools that will allow for better sightlines for all users, slower speeds, clear crossings, and defined spaces for all.
These intersections will be prioritized based on safety history, demographics (higher numbers of children, older adults, and people with a disability), if there are parks, schools, and community centers nearby, plans for repaving and ramp construction, and needs otherwise identified by the residents of the neighborhood.
By making changes at our signalized intersections, we can increase safety for people walking, biking, and driving.
Tools like a leading pedestrian interval can give walkers a head start by providing them with a walk sign a few seconds before a driver gets a green light. This creates more visibility for pedestrians and reduces conflicts between people walking and turning drivers.
"No Turn on Red" signage is another important safety tool to reduce conflicts and increase safety at intersections. Drivers may be so intent to turn at a signal that they only look left and neglect to check for pedestrians who may be crossing. By removing the option to take a right at a red light, we can reduce the number of potential conflicts. The presence of pedestrians, especially near schools, parks, and other community facilities, sight lines, or a history of crashes are reasons that a "No Turn on Red" sign may be installed.
We are also revising our guidelines for intersection timing and phasing to make sure that safety is always a top priority. Traffic signals are very complex, but by prioritizing pedestrian safety we can have signalized intersections that keep traffic flowing while keeping everyone safe.