The Most Dangerous Intersections in Cambridge


One night in August, my wife and I were in the car dropping off a friend. We were nearly there, just maybe seconds away and heading straight. And then, boom. We were hit from the side. Long story short, it seems that the timings of the lights in that particular intersection (coupled with a non-attentive Uber driver making a left turn) lend themselves to allowing for accidents.

This made me wonder, what are the most dangerous intersections in Cambridge, and what can we do about them?

I grabbed data from (see mini-rant below) and looked at accident data from 2010-2014 and here's what I did:

  • Took a list of all intersections in Cambridge, MA
  • Concatenated data from 2010-2013 and 2014 traffic accident reports
  • Filtered out accidents that involved fixed objects or parked cars
  • Filtered out accidents without lat/long data
  • Clustered accidents to intersection based on Latitude/Longitude
    • Took the nearest intersection within 250 feet of the accident
The Results

The top 10 intersections with the most accidents from 2010-2014 in Cambridge were:

Massachusetts Ave & Vassar St67
Cambridge St & Windsor St43
Hampshire St & Prospect St41
Harvard St & Prospect St35
Broadway & Galilei Way35
Cambridge St & Columbia34
Spring St & Third St32
Garden St & Massachusetts Ave32
Broadway & Prospect St30
Albany St & Massachusetts Ave30

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In reality there are plenty of factors that may confound this simple analysis. First, this does not take into account relative traffic. Second, finding the nearest intersection within 250 feet perhaps is too much slack to provide when clustering the data. Third, this assumes the lat/long input from the accident data is accurate and complete.

Mini-rant: Socrata, why do I have to download two separate files for traffic accidents one from 2010-2013 and one from 2014?