Improving Pedestrian Safety

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. The Texas Department of Transportation took advantage of the opportunity to encourage drivers to watch out for pedestrians.

TxDOT notes that in the El Paso area last year, there were 181 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 21 fatalities and 42 serious injuries. The Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign brought attention grabbing “walking human billboards” to downtown El Paso. The billboards, wearable sandwich boards, display messages reminding drivers and pedestrians to follow the rules of the road and to watch out for each other.

The campaign collateral also includes video, radio, and outdoor advertising materials, which are available at the TxDOT website.

A similarly eye-catching safety campaign, spearheaded by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, was designed to grab the atten­tion of pedestrians and drivers and encourage less distracted behavior. The LOOK ALIVE PGH campaign combined traditional advertising with “unique interventions.”

Improv actors dressed as the Grim Reaper frequented sidewalks around particularly busy intersections and engaged pedestrians in playful banter.

Anyone having an encounter with the Grim Reaper received a “Get out of Death Free” card encouraging the pedestrian to “Look Alive” and to visit the Look Alive website to become a safer, more engaged pedestrian. Sidewalk chalk stencils encouraged people to, “Look Left, Look Right, Look Alive!”

And geofencing technology was used to display pop-up messages on cell phones in highly trafficked areas.

To reach downtown drivers, transit shelter advertising was replaced by a stark white panel displaying the message “We’re keeping this space blank. So you can keep your eyes on the road.”

More on pedestrian safety appears in the December issue of Downtown Idea Exchange newsletter. Click to learn more about Downtown Idea Exchange and other resources for revitalizing downtowns and commercial corridors.

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