Light it Up

Light it Up

Committee: Streetsmarts

Total Cost: $130,000

Locations: Throughout Cambridge


Short Description:

Reduce traffic fatalities by placing more Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) at Cambridge’s busiest intersections.

Long Description:

Almost 70% of residents walk, bike, or take transit daily, and Cambridge has consistently ranked as one of the Most Walkable communities in the country. Nevertheless, vehicle crashes involving pedestrians continue to occur around the city: between 2010 and 2016, approximately 516 pedestrians were struck by vehicles around the city. Cambridge’s 2017 Vision Zero Action Plan identified non-signalized pedestrian crossings as one of the challenges to ensuring safe streets. Participatory Budgeting participants have also identified unsafe street crossing as a challenge: 25 submissions centered on increased pedestrian safety.

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) resemble regular street crossing signs, but they incorporate a bright, flashing light to alert drivers that a pedestrian is crossing the street.  They are used at intersections without signals, including mid-block crosswalks, and school crossings. The flashing light can be triggered either by a button that the pedestrian can push, or by a motion sensor. RRFBs are powered by solar panels, and are a relatively inexpensive means to increase vehicle yielding to pedestrians. traffic signals and hybrid beacons.

The benefits of RRFBs are supported by data: Studies from municipalities that have incorporated RRFBs show that they increase the percentage of drivers yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks by as much as 90%.

Locations for new RRFBs will be chosen based on high-priority crosswalks identified by multi-year crash data from the Cambridge Police Department and Participatory Budgeting proposals.




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