In late April, Gov. Charlie Baker filed two transportation-related bills intended to improve roadway safety and better regulate transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft.

The first bill (HB. 3706) would require all vans and trucks of Class 3 and above and over 10,000 pounds purchased or leased by the state or contracted or subcontracted by the state or a Massachusetts municipality to be equipped, by Jan. 1, 2024, with convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors and a lateral protective device in order to reduce the risk of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians. Side guards protect bicyclists and pedestrians from being swept under large vehicles, which can happen, for example, when vehicles are making tight turns at intersections, according to the administration. The law would not apply to vehicles purchased or leased by a Massachusetts municipality.

The governor’s bill would also permit, but not require, municipalities to use automated road safety cameras along any portion of a right-of-way to promote traffic safety. Also known as red light cameras, these devices could only be used to enforce failure to stop at a signal at an intersection or making a prohibited right turn on red.

The second bill (SB. 2436) would increase regulatory oversight of transportation network companies, requiring them to submit specific data to the Department of Public Utilities on a monthly basis. The data would include longitude and latitude for all pick-up and drop-off locations; total time and mileage of each ride; and unique identifying information for each driver. The law would also require data broken down by shared ride versus non-shared ride.

The administration said the data collection requirements would help state and local officials gain a better understanding of how the services provided by transportation network companies fit into the broader transportation system across the Commonwealth, as well as their impacts on congestion and emissions.

Under state law, per-ride assessments on shared and non-shared transportation network company rides are deposited into a Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund for distribution to municipalities where the rides originated. Under the governor’s bill, municipalities receiving less than $25,000 per year from the fund would see a reduction in their reporting requirements to once every five years, rather than annually. Those communities would also be able to make spending decisions on their relatively small disbursements without going through a local appropriation process.

Both bills have been assigned to the Joint Committee on Transportation, but hearing dates have not yet been scheduled. The MMA will weigh in on both bills when they come up for hearings.

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