Technical Memorandum


DATE:    January 18, 2018

TO:          Boston Region MPO

FROM:    Seth Asante, Chen-Yuan Wang, and Ben Erban

RE:          Safety and Operations Analyses at Selected Intersections: Federal Fiscal Year 2018


1          Background

This memorandum presents the results of Task 1 (Select Study Locations) of the work program for Safety and Operations Analyses at Selected Intersections: Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018.1


This study builds on recommendations generated by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Congestion Management Process (CMP) to address safety and congestion problems at intersections in the MPO area. Several similar studies were completed in previous funding years and received favorable responses from municipalities, which included appreciation of the MPO’s assistance with the conceptual design of low-cost improvements and the planning and implementation processes.


Previous studies examined large, complex intersections, simpler intersections, and locations that include two or more adjacent intersections. The focus for FFY 2018 is on simpler intersections. Locations that would potentially require major geometry redesigns, such as grade separation or adding travel lanes on an arterial roadway, were considered to be less suitable for this study.


As in the past, the basic requirement for a location to qualify as a study candidate is that it must be located on an arterial roadway in the Boston Region MPO where 1) it has safety and operational concerns and 2) the agencies and/or municipalities with jurisdiction over the roadway are committed to implementing recommended improvements.


2          Selection Procedure

The study selection process consisted of the following four steps completed by the MPO:


2.1      Generating List of Potential Locations

MPO staff used the following sources to develop an initial list of nearly 50 potential study locations in the MPO area:


The following exclusion criteria were developed to narrow the list of locations:


2.2      Gathering Detailed Data

Staff gathered data to support the exclusion criteria and eliminated locations that were not suitable. The assembled data for 10 intersection locations in 10 municipalities in the MPO region are listed below.


Table 1 (at the end of this memorandum) presents the data assembled for each intersection location, community, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) subregion, MassDOT district office, jurisdiction, equivalent property damage only crashes, total crashes, fatal crashes, injury crashes, property damage only and non-reported crashes, bicycle and pedestrian crashes, top-200 crash clusters, crash clusters that are eligible for Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding, transit routes, a list of relevant studies or projects, and staff comments. The table also shows the results of applying the selection criteria and the priority rating, which was performed in the fourth step of this process (described below).


2.3      Applying Criteria

MPO staff further examined the intersection locations by applying the five criteria cited below (each item is worth one point):







In addition, no two locations in the same town would be selected.


2.4      Scoring and Rating

Intersection locations with a score of four or fewer points were rated low priority; those with a score of five to seven points were rated medium priority; and those with a score of eight or more points were rated high priority. Five locations were given a high-priority rating and four a medium-priority rating by MPO staff based on safety, operations, multimodal and regional significance, and support from agencies and municipalities.


Staff examined the high-priority segments more closely. Locations within the following parameters were not suitable candidates for this cycle of safety and operations analyses:


3          Selected Intersections for Study

Based on the evaluation above, staff selected two intersections for study: 1) Route 1A (Main Street) at Cherry Street, Monument Street, and Arbor Street in Wenham; and 2) Route 126 (Hartford Avenue) at Maple Street in Bellingham.



The three intersections are located close to each other within a short distance of 750 feet and serve a high volume of traffic on the regional arterial of Route 1A corridor. Additionally, several properties are located adjacent to these intersections, including the town hall, police department, fire department, the Maples Retirement Home, and First Church. The combination of these factors has caused safety concerns for all the users, especially for residents frequently visiting the area.


All three intersections are currently unsignalized, and preliminary traffic signal needs analyses performed by MassDOT show that they satisfy the first three warrants of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. However, the three intersections should be further examined together in a comprehensive study under the existing town center context.  



The Town expressed that the intersection at Hartford Avenue and Maple Street carries a high proportion of truck traffic and is undersized to accommodate large commercial vehicles safely and efficiently. The intersection is just one-half mile south of the interchange of Interstate 495 and Route 126, where a number of large commercial uses exist. Meanwhile, a significant portion of Maple Street, currently zoned industrial, houses a power plant, multiple warehouses, mulch- and lumber-producing facilities, and vacant land for future developments.


In addition, an elementary school that serves all of North Bellingham is located on Route 126, less than 100 feet north of the intersection. The traffic and pedestrian access to the school should also be considered in further study. The intersection is suitable for this study because of the issues and concerns from these different travel modes.


Staff also evaluated the pedestrian accommodation and safety improvement needs for the two locations by applying the Pedestrian Report Card Assessment that the MPO recently developed.2 The two selected locations are highly qualified for pedestrian accommodation or safety improvement requirements. Appendix A contains detailed results of the assessments.


4          Summary

The recommended intersection locations meet the selection criteria of this study because of their potential for safety and operations improvements. The work scope for this study assumed that “as many as three” locations would be selected. Staff selected two locations that contain a total of four intersections. Appendix B contains the support letters from MassDOT and stakeholders in Wenham and Bellingham.


Staff will submit these recommendations to the MPO for discussion. If the MPO endorses the study selections, staff will meet with officials from Wenham, Bellingham, and MassDOT to discuss study specifics, conduct field visits, collect data, and perform analyses.





1 Karl H. Quackenbush, CTPS Executive Director, memorandum of a work program to the Boston Region MPO, “Work Program for Safety and Operations Analyses at Selected Intersections,” November 16, 2017.

2 Pedestrian Level-of-Service Memorandum, Ryan Hicks and Casey-Marie Claude, Boston Region Metropolitan Organization, January 19, 2017.

Appendix A

TABLE 1. FFY 2018 Safety and Operations for Selected Intersections
Selected locations are highlighted in green
Location Community MAPC Subregion MassDOT District Jurisdiction Street 1 Route 1 Street 2 Study, Project, or TIP Project EPDO Crashes 2012-14 Total Crashes 2012-14 Injury Crashes 2012-14 Bike/Ped Crashes 2012-14 Top 200 Crash Clusters 2012-14 HSIP-eligible Crash Clusters 2012-14 Transit Routes Safety Conditions Multimodal Significance Regional Significance Regional Equity Implementation Potential Total Score Rating Comments
1 Wenham NSTF 4 MassDOT Main Street Route 1A Cherry Street
Monument Street
Arbor St / Friend Ct
None 76 36 10 1 0 0 None 2 2 2 2 2 10 High Wenham and MassDOT District 4 requested MPO staff to study these three major intersections on Route 1A. The primary issues raised were safety and operational concerns for users of all modes, including pedestrians and bicyclists. To fully address these issues, the three intersections should be examined together under the existing town center context.  
2 Bellingham SWAP 3 Town Hartford Avenue Route 126 Maple Street #604862: Bellingham- Ramp Construction and Relocation, I-495 At Route 126 (Hartford Avenue) (half a mile south of location) (TIP project, preliminary design phase, last update 2007)

#605239: Bellingham- Franklin- Bridge Preservation - Hartford Ave over I-495 (half a mile south) (Complete 2012)
12 8 1 0 0 0 None 1 2 2 2 2 9 High The Town of Bellingham requested MPO’s assistance in addressing the safety and operational concerns at this intersection, especially on the truck operational and safety issues.  A future study should also consider traffic and pedestrian safety from an elementary school adjacent to the intersection. 
3 Danvers NSTF 4 MassDOT Andover Street Route 114 Garden Street Project 605383 Danvers- Peabody- Resurfacing and Related Work on Route 114 (completed in 2011) 97 37 15 1 1 1 None 2 2 2 1 1 8 High This intersection was studied as part of the FFY 2011 Priority Corridors: Route 114 Study in Danvers. That study proposed improvements for addressing safety and operations at the intersection.
4 Cambridge ICC 6 DCR and City Mount Auburn Street and Fresh Pond Parkway Route 3 Coolidge Hill Road None 101 41 15 1 1 1 MBTA 71 and 73 2 2 2 2 0 8 High Comments from MPO outreach indicate pedestrian safety issues and traffic congestion and operations concerns at Mount Auburn Street/Coolidge Hill Road. DCR interest is critical for this study due to the proximity of Route 3/Fresh Pond Parkway at Mount Auburn Street.
5 Marlborough MetroWest 3 MassDOT Boston Post Road West Route 20 Northboro Road East (Shopping Plaza) #601133: Marlborough- Roadway Reconstruction Including Signals, Route 20 (Boston Post Road) From The Northboro Cl To Felton St. (2004)

#608467: Marlborough- Resurfacing And Related Work On Route 20 (Unknown Location) (Planned for 2019 TIP)
92 68 6 4 0 1 MWRTA Route 7 2 2 2 1 1 8 High A Route 20 study in Marlborough is recommended for the MPO FFY 2016 Subregional Priority Corridors Study. This location was not selected because of the geographic equity consideration applied in the selection study locations.
6 Boston ICC 6 DCR Jamaicaway Blank Bynner Street None 122 50 18 2 1 1 None 1 2 2 1 1 7 Medium Potential candidate for a safety and operations study. The location is in the current list of Top 200 High-Crash Intersections. The City of Boston expressed interest, but the DCR did not indicate interest.
7 Salem NSTF 4 Town North Street Route 114 Mason Street #605332: Salem- Bridge Replacement, S-01-001, (St 114) North Street Over North River - Is just south of the intersection. (TIP project, begins 2021)

#608521: Salem- Bridge Maintenance, S-01-018 (32t), (St 114) North Street Over (St 107) Bridge Street and MBTA - a little further down (TIP project, begins 2018)
102 45 12 6 1 1 MBTA 465 1 2 2 1 1 7 Medium This location was not selected because the crash cluster at this location includes two signalized intersections and four unsignalized intersections in a half-mile distance. An arterial segment study is more suitable for this location. In addition, a Route 1A study involving Swampscott, Salem, and  Marblehead has been recommended for the MPO FFY 2016 Subregional Priority Corridors Study, and so, because of geographic equity considerations, this location is not recommended for that reason as well. 
8 Boston ICC 6 MassDOT Columbia Road Blank Buttonwood Street #603412: Boston- Traffic Signal And Safety Improvements, Route I-93 Ramps At Columbia Road - is adjacent to intersection. (Complete 2005) 79 27 13 0 0 1 MBTA 8, 18, and 41 2 1 1 2 1 7 Medium Potential candidate for a safety and operations study. This unsignalized intersection is located between two busy and closely spaced signalized intersections. 
9 Newton ICC 6 City Commonwealth Avenue Route 30 Washington Street None 22 14 2 1 0 0 MBTA 505 0 2 1 2 1 6 Medium Potential candidate for a safety and operations analysis. 
10 Sherborn SWAP 3 Town Washington Street Route 16 S Main Street (Route 27) None 46 18 7 0 0 1 None 1 1 1 1 0 4 Low Location was studied by CTPS and VHB in 2002 and 2004. Improvements were not implemented. A UPWP comment suggested that this could be a good location for demand response signal.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
BAT = Brockton Area Transit Authority.  CATA = Cape Ann Transit Authority.  CTPS = Central Transportation Planning Staff.  DCR = Department of Conservation and Recreation.  EPDO = Equivalent property damage only.  FFY = Federal fiscal year.  HSIP = Highway Safety Improvement Program.  ICC = Inner Core Committee.  MAPC = Metropolitan Area Planning Council.  MassDOT = Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  MBTA = Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.  MetroWest = MetroWest Regional Collaborative.  MPO = Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization.  MWRTA = MetroWest Regional Transit Authority.  NSPC = North Suburban Planning Council.  NSTF = North Shore Task Force.  SWAP = South West Advisory Planning Committee.  TIP = Transportation Improvement Program.  TRIC = Three Rivers Interlocal Council.  UPWP = Unified Planning Work Program.
Selection Criteria
Safety Conditions: Intersection has a HSIP-eligible crash cluster, a top-200 high-crash location, and/or a significant number of or HSIP-eligible clusters of pedestrian or bicycle crashes.
Congested Conditions: Intersection experiences delays during peak periods.
Multimodal Significance: Intersection currently supports transit, bicycle or pedestrian activities, needs improved facilities for these activities, and/or has high truck traffic serving regional commerce.
Regional Significance: Intersection is on the National Highway System, carries a significant proportion of regional traffic, lies within 0.5 miles of Environmental Justice transportation analysis zones, and/or is essential for the region's economic, cultural, or recreational development.
Regional Equity: Intersection is underrepresented in previous safety and operations studies in terms of the proportion of population or number of top-200 high-crash locations.
Implementation Potential: Intersection has strong potential for implementation based on the urgent need for safety improvements, is proposed or endorsed by its roadway administrative agency or agencies, and/or has strong support from other stakeholders.
1. Locations are in order of their ratings based on scoring from selection criteria.
2. EPDO Crash Rating = 10 * Fatal Crashes + 5 * Injury Crashes + 1 * Other Crashes (Property Damage Only or Unknown Severity), based on MassDOT top-200 high-crash locations: 2012-14 crash data.
3. HSIP-eligible crash clusters are defined by MassDOT as crash clusters that rank within the top five percent of crash clusters for each Regional Planning Agency, based on the EDPO index. In the Boston region the 921 intersections in the top five percent have crash clusters with a minimum EDPO value of 42.
Source: Central Transportation Planning Staff.