Vision Zero Action Plan City of Cambridge, Massachusetts

A Path to Vision Zero

Transportation is a key element of what makes Cambridge the vibrant, lively city it is; residents, businesses, and visitors alike enjoy the walkability, convenience, and healthy lifestyle available here.

Whether walking, cycling, using transit, driving, or moving around Cambridge another way, our residents and visitors need safe streets. While Cambridge has long been a leader in improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities and safety, significant challenges remain. Traffic violence impacts our public health, our public safety, our quality of life and can disproportionately impact our most vulnerable residents.

While Cambridge benefits from a long history of support for walking, bicycling, and transit, our dense, urban environment does pose challenges.

Facing our Challenges

Although Cambridge’s crowded, narrow streets result in lower and safer speeds, we also have less street real estate available for the competing uses of people who drive, bicycle, or walk. Additionally, a significant amount of vehicular traffic in Cambridge passes through with no origin or destination within the city, on roads that are not under local control.

As a city, we have committed to taking the steps necessary to address these challenges and eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries—Vision Zero represents this commitment.

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.

The Vision Zero approach consists first and foremost of an acknowledgment that crashes are preventable. By examining the factors that cause crashes, from infrastructure to behavior and societal factors, we can make the changes necessary to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Vision Zero also acknowledges that human beings will always make mistakes, so we must have systems in place to ensure that they are not fatal or life changing.

By coming together as a community, we will continue making it safe and easy for people of all ages and abilities to travel between work, school, shops, and other destinations, whether they choose to walk, bicycle, drive, or take transit.

Creating a Blueprint

The Action Plan is the blueprint for how we will reach zero fatalities and serious injuries in our city. Each action step detailed in the plan includes specific short and longer term goals, and falls into one of seven categories:

  • Design and Operate Safe Streets: The City will design and operate our streets to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can walk, bike, use transit and drive safely.
  • Improve Large Vehicle, Taxi/For-Hire Vehicles, and TNC Safety: The City will minimize the negative impacts of large vehicles, taxis/for-hire vehicles, and Transportation Network Company vehicles, while ensuring they can provide necessary services to Cambridge residents, students, workers and visitors.
  • Ensure equity in Vision Zero: The City will ensure all Vision Zero efforts promote equity and inclusiveness and protect people of all ages and abilities, paying particular attention to vulnerable and underserved populations.
  • Lead by Example: The City will lead by example in all things related to traffic safety. City policies and actions will reflect our commitment to Vision Zero.
  • Engage the public on Vision Zero: The City will engage the public to gather feedback on traffic safety related concerns and priorities, educate and change behaviors to improve public safety and public health.
  • Create Partnerships: The City will partner with universities, private businesses, and other local and state entities to improve traffic safety.
  • Use Data to Direct Efforts and Measure our Progress: The City will develop metrics to guide decision-making, measure progress on Vision Zero activities and share successes and challenges in a transparent way.
Almost 70% of Cambridge residents commute in a sustainable way. Vision Zero is a critical addition to the conversation around transportation, public health, sustainability, and ensuring that the safety of those who travel in Cambridge is a paramount consideration.

In addition to the seven action steps, there are five cross-cutting themes common to all our Vision Zero efforts. These themes include:

  1. Data driven decision-making
  2. Equity
  3. Mode share shift
  4. Collaboration
  5. Public health

The Path Forward

The Action Plan documents the collaborative, community-wide efforts to prevent traffic fatalities in Cambridge.

Encompassing policy changes, improved street design, data analysis, and robust public outreach, the Action Plan describes the cross-departmental commitment to Vision Zero and the fundamental changes necessary to create a safe, sustainable city.

The plan reflects our united investment in a transportation system that is above all safe, but is also accessible and efficient for all users and promotes the use of sustainable modes.

To learn more about Cambridge's Vision Zero efforts, visit www.CambridgeMA.GOV/VisionZero.

Brought you by the City Manager's Office


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