Tow Zone Alerts (TZA) is a community-driven initiative to reduce car towing, especially due to street cleaning — which accounts for 45% of towing in Boston [archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/graphics/towing_map/] and over 65% of ticketing in Cambridge [data.cambridgema.gov]. Cambridge recently ended the practice of towing for street cleaning because it's an overly punitive measure for forgetting to follow street signage, disproportionately impacts lower income residents, and emits pollution [cambridgeday.com]. We made a public comment in favor of this policy order in the December 2022 City Council meeting, and developed this service to prevent towing in Boston and expensive tickets in Cambridge and Somerville. In retrospect, Ticket Zone Alerts may have been a more suitable name for the initiative in Camberville.
Since April 2023, we have offered reminder texts and peer-to-peer alerts in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Based on data from August 2023, we see that people are 67% less likely to be towed after signing up for our text messages compared to before (1 towing per person per year before compared to 0.32 towings per person per year after).
To sign up:
Have ideas for how to work together? Reach us at 617-870-3853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.