Boulder has joined cities across the country and the world that are working toward this goal. Reaching it requires safe street design, enforcement, strong community partnerships— and you.
Vision Zero was adopted in 2014 as part of the city's Transportation Master Plan and uses a data-driven approach to increasing the safety of Boulder's streets. Safety has always been a top priority of the city. By tracking the places where collisions and close calls occur most often—and the behaviors and situations that lead to them—staff can make targeted improvements to street design, enforcement and outreach efforts in places where they are needed the most.
How Do We Reach Our Goal?
A lot of factors go into making Boulder's streets safer, from smart roadway engineering to enforcing existing laws. The city has released a Vision Zero Action Plan to make progress toward the community's goal.
We also depend, every second of every day, on individuals making good choices. A lot of the time, they do. But we know from data on crashes and close calls that certain behaviors and situations are more likely to lead to collisions. Using the following guidelines, you can help reach our goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries.
- Stay sober, no matter whether you're driving, cycling or walking. Know your limit, know the law.
- Avoid distractions. That text can wait.
- Watch out for motorcycles . They're harder to see. Bikers, help others see you by driving predictably and following the speed limit.
- Stop at intersections. When driving, look both ways at intersections and path crossings. Yield to pedestrians and cyclists every time.
- Flashing yellow arrows do NOT mean oncoming traffic will stop. Yield to oncoming traffic and make left turns safely.
- Stay cool in right-turn lanes and avoid rear-ending. If you're behind another car in the right-turn lane, wait to hit the gas until the car in front of you starts moving. A break in traffic doesn't mean the car in front of you will move.
Avoid distractions. Be mindful. Look out for one another.
Engineering for Safer Streets
Since the adoption of Vision Zero, city staff has implemented 141 distinct safety strategies at a total of 83 locations throughout the community. The location and type of mitigation for each strategy can be found on the engineering tab of the interactive maps.
The city has also received federal funding for significant capital projects, identified through the 2016 Safe Streets Boulder Report. Federal Highway Safety Improvement Project (HSIP) funding has been obtained for the following three capital projects:
- Colorado Avenue and Regent Drive (experiment with a curb separated bike lane intersection, sometimes called a protected intersection design)
- 29th Street and Baseline Road (realignment to provide a better line of sight for travelers)
- Broadway and Rayleigh Road (realignment, additional signal elements and changes in signal timing)
These projects are currently in the preliminary design and public process phase and are scheduled for construction in 2019. The recently completed traffic signal at the intersection of 29th Street and Valmont was funded through the same federal grant program.
The city is currently updating its Safe Streets Boulder Report (scheduled for completion by the end of 2018) and as part of that report will be evaluating the effectiveness of each mitigation strategy. This will allow staff to focus on mitigation strategies that are proven to be effective.
Federal Funding in 2020
In 2020, two grants totaling $1,127,926 were awarded through the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) administered locally by CDOT:
The first HSIP grant for $173,019, will be used to address safety concerns at Baseline Road and Canyon Creek Road, an intersection located in central Boulder. Recommended improvements to the crosswalk include replacement of the flashing beacon with a pedestrian traffic signal crossing, new curb ramps and a raised median pedestrian refuse island. The proposed improvements will advance the Vision Zero objectives of reducing traffic related fatalities and serious injuries to zero. The anticipated completion date is late 2022.
The second HSIP grant for $954,907, will be used for safety improvements at three signalized intersections in the city, all of which were identified in the 2019 Vision Zero Safe Streets Report: Baseline Road and Broadway; Baseline Road and Mohawk Road; and, at Folsom and Pine. Improvements vary for each location and will advance the objectives of Vision Zero. The anticipated completion date is late 2022.
Vision Zero Community Partnership
The Vision Zero Community Partnership Committee fosters ongoing implementation of Boulder's safety strategies in collaboration with the broader Boulder community. The committee includes representation from the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) as well as local, regional and state-wide agency partners and is charged with providing input and offering feedback regarding the Safe Streets Boulder action plan and co-developing and disseminating Vision Zero safety education and awareness messaging for the greater Boulder Valley community.
COVID-19 Travel and Crash Trends
The city has been collecting data on travel patterns and crash trends during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Vehicle travel dropped significantly in mid-March 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions and shift to remote work and school, peaking at a 60% drop in April.
- Traffic stabilized in July 2020, reaching a 20% reduction year over year.
- 2020 travel dropped by 20% year over year.
- Total crashes dropped 45% in 2020 year over year. Severe crashes dropped 35%.
Check out the slideshow below to the COVID-19 Travel and Crash Trends graph and data table.
Note on data sources: Vehicular traffic counts were derived from nine continuous count stations distributed across the city. Data on traffic crashes comes from the City of Boulder’s Transportation & Mobility Department database, which is derived from the Boulder Police Department’s Record Management System. The system uses officer-reported crash data, which is collected when a police officer completes a Colorado State Traffic Accident Report form.