Walking is one of the healthiest and most sustainable forms of transportation, and having a safe walking environment can significantly boost a community’s livability.
Improving pedestrian safety in a community can help increase a municipality’s walkability, which can have a positive effect on a community’s health, economy, and overall livability. One way a municipality can improve pedestrian safety is by conducting a Street Smart campaign.
What is Street Smart?
Street Smart NJ is a statewide public education, awareness, and behavioral change campaign developed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the metropolitan planning organization for northern and central New Jersey. Street Smart promotes safe travel behavior through education and enforcement of pedestrian safety laws.
Why New Jersey?
The campaign responds to New Jersey’s designation as a “focus” state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because of its relatively high rate of fatal pedestrian crashes compared to other areas of the country. In 2015, there were 170 pedestrian fatalities in New Jersey – 30.2 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. Of total traffic fatalities, New Jersey has the second highest proportion of pedestrian fatalities in the US.
What is the campaign message?
Street Smart NJ emphasizes educating drivers and pedestrians, as well as targeted enforcement. The campaign focuses on the following five messages for motorists and pedestrians:
- Obey Speed Limits
- Stop for Pedestrians
- Wait for the Walk
- Use Crosswalks
- Heads Up, Phones Down
The goals of the campaign are to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities on New Jersey roadways by changing pedestrian and motorist behavior, educating motorists and pedestrians on road safety, and increasing enforcement of pedestrian safety laws.
How does a municipality implement a campaign?
Communities that are interested in conducting a Street Smart campaign are encouraged to contact RideWise at (908) 704-1011. RideWise serves as the lead organization in Somerset County for the campaign, working with a variety of stakeholders such as the police, public health workers, schools, pedestrian/bicycle groups, and elected officials.