LivableStreets Alliance envisions a world where streets are safe, vibrant public spaces that connect people to the places where they live, work and play.
On Wednesday, in partnership with the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, we held an incredibly impactful Day of Action at the State House.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is in the process of updating their street design manual, MUTCD, that instructs engineers and transportation planners on what they must, can, and should do with respect to road design, signals, and almost every aspect of transportation planning. The FHWA is accepting comments to inform an upcoming update to the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), impacting road design and funding for decades into the future, through this Friday, May 14th.
This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the FHWA to overhaul the current standards in the MUTCD and create guidelines that create equitable mobility and access for all, regardless of transportation mode. This manual has not been updated in 11 years, before any US city adopted Vision Zero, and the FHWA’s own website states that previous updates to the MUTCD have been made “to accommodate increased traffic, higher speeds, [and] more commercial traffic.” We need the manual to reflect the cities and towns we want to achieve, not the traffic and transportation design we have now. Can we count on you to call on the FHWA to make the right changes to this manual?
Here’s how you can make your voice heard:
I joined @StreetsBoston and sent a letter to @USDOTFHWA urging that active + public transportation and equity be the priority for the #MUTCD revision
Thank you for speaking up for safer and more equitable street design.
SAMPLE COMMENT LETTER
Make sure to personalize the template by sharing your story.
Dear Acting Administrator Pollack:
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was last updated in 2009, and before that, 2003. With this update of the MUTCD, the Federal Highway Administration has a once in a decade opportunity to overhaul the current standards and create streets that are safe and equitable for vulnerable users, including but not limited to pedestrians and cyclists. We respectfully request that FHWA reframe and rewrite the MUTCD, creating a path for the creation of comprehensive safety-based guidance. Doing so will allow FHWA and the Biden Administration to make strides towards equity and sustainability, while reducing traffic deaths and serious injuries.
To date, the MUTCD has done little to help stem the approximately 40,000 traffic deaths the U.S. sees each year, with 345 deaths on Massachusetts roads in 2020. This is due largely to the Manual’s over-emphasis on motor vehicle operations and efficiency on rural highways, and neglect of other modes and contexts. To guide the development of an improved, safety-oriented document that supports the equity, safety, and sustainability vision of the Biden Administration. We would like to call attention to the following fundamental problems that must be addressed in an updated MUTCD:
The issues described above are endemic to the document’s underlying approach and undercut efforts to provide safe, multimodal accessibility in urban settings. The MUTCD needs holistic reframing to support cost-effective, sustainable, and equitable city street design and improve safety and accessibility for the most vulnerable users.
We respectfully request that FHWA reframe and rewrite the MUTCD, and specifically that FHWA expand the definition of safety to reduce the involvement of policing as a safety measure, which compromises the safety of many vulnerable road users, especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) individuals, when traffic stops become hostile environments. President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government should be used in defining safety for all communities and addressing the use of enforcement in transportation.
Lastly, we believe there is an opportunity to ensure a more inclusive and participatory process moving forward. We recommend:
[Insert your name]