This memo explores the frequency and severity of crashes in communities that have lower incomes or whose residents are predominately people of color within the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning (MPO) area. Several studies have shown that people of color and those in low-income communities are more apt to be killed in a crash than people in other demographic groups. This project explored the frequency and severity of crashes in environmental justice (EJ) communities compared with non-EJ communities in the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) area.
Low-income communities in the study were defined as transportation analysis zones (TAZs) that meet or exceed 60 percent of the region’s median household income. Minority communities were defined as TAZs that meet or exceed 27.8 percent. If a TAZ met one or both of those criteria it was called an “EJ TAZ.” If it did not, it was called a “non-EJ TAZ.” All on-road vehicle crashes were included—vehicle-on- vehicle, vehicle-on-bicycle, and vehicle-on- pedestrian crashes—that occurred between 2010 and 2014. The analysis calculated a crash rates for EJ and non-EJ TAZs using a number of different exposure, or control, measures: population, number of trips, travel time, vehicle miles travelled, roadway miles, and lane miles. This memo presents the results of this analysis, and discusses the pros and cons of using each of the control measures. Ultimately, the information in this memo could help the MPO evaluate safety in EJ and non-EJ communities more effectively.
About the MPO’s Staff-Generated Research Program
Work on this research report was funded by the MPO’s Staff-Generated Research Topics program. The program is intended to produce interesting and timely information for the MPO’s consideration; support staff members’ professional development; and yield creative solutions for transportation planning problems. Any views expressed in program products are those of the staff member who conducted the research and are not necessarily those of the MPO.