Driving habits have gotten worse over the past few years, in Boston and around the country, and it’s taking a deadly toll. The U.S. Department of Transportation says roadway fatalities are on the rise again after years of decline, with more than 42,000 people killed in both 2021 and 2022 — levels transportation secretary Pete Buttegieg says represent “a national crisis.” The casualties include cyclists and pedestrians as well as drivers, and the former groups are especially vulnerable. According to a new report from WalkMassachusetts, at least 101 pedestrians were killed in the state just last year, with older people and residents of poorer neighborhoods and communities of color being disproportionately affected.
Those grim numbers are the backdrop for a new push by the city of Boston to make its streets safer by deploying speed bumps, redesigning problem intersections, and revamping the use of traffic signals. Could Boston’s plan serve as a model for other communities? And what could state government be doing to decrease fatalities? Adam Reilly discusses with Brendan Kearney, the deputy director of WalkMassachusetts, and Stacy Thompson, the executive director of Livable Streets.