Cambridge Safer Truck Initiative : Vehicle-Based Strategies to Protect Pedestrians and Bicyclists
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Cambridge Safer Truck Initiative : Vehicle-Based Strategies to Protect Pedestrians and Bicyclists

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      This report summarizes Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center’s (Volpe’s) research and recommendations for the City of Cambridge for implementing a number of proven vehicle safety strategies, including truck side guards, blind spot mirrors, and other vehicle-based safety enhancements on the city-owned truck fleet. The City intends to install these technologies on heavy-duty vehicles to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists traveling in Cambridge, leading by example in Massachusetts and encouraging private entities to follow suit. Volpe’s partnership with the City of Cambridge responds to the City Council’s policy order adoption of November 10, 2014 “to work with all relevant City Staff, safety experts, and bicycle and pedestrian advocates to consider the possibility of deploying truck side guards across all city-owned and city-leased trucks.”1 Additionally, this partnership dovetails with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets, launched on January 22, 2015, by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.2 Volpe has reviewed international best practices and safety data and has considered both operational and human factors issues in developing the recommendations in this report for: • Installing side guards on large trucks to protect bicyclists and pedestrians from being swept underneath a vehicle in a side-impact crash; • Installing additional blind spot mirrors, lenses, or cameras intended to increase truck drivers’ field of view and situational awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians; • Posting educational messaging inside and/or outside of large trucks intended to increase awareness of all road users about avoiding blind spots and other specific hazards; and • Integrating the recommended safety countermeasures into the vehicle bodies and operations of the city’s truck fleet, on up to 50 identified vehicles starting in the fall of 2015.
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