Since 2015, TransOptions has conducted 14 Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety campaigns in 10 municipalities throughout its service area. TransOptions brings together government, business and education leaders, law enforcement officials, advocates and representatives from local civic and service organizations to conduct grassroots public outreach and community engagement coupled with enforcement.
The campaign focuses on educating drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists about safely sharing the road by equitably enforcing New Jersey’s stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk law and conveying key safety tips. New Jersey is a pedestrian focus state with people on foot accounting for 31% of all motor vehicle deaths. Therefore, the program’s goal is to influence behavior change and increase safety awareness within the community, so lives are saved.
TransOptions is continually testing new elements and collaborating with municipalities to meet the unique pedestrian needs in each community. In addition to conducting “Cops in the Crosswalk” decoy programs to educate motorists, police officers also distribute coupons to pedestrians demonstrating safe crossing behaviors. In 2019, they piloted the use of pop-up infrastructure placing temporary delineators around a crosswalk at a problematic intersection in one community. Observations found that the delineators helped increased drivers stopping for pedestrians by an additional 5%.
Through direct observations and surveys, TransOptions has seen other improvements as well including increases in overall knowledge of New Jersey’s pedestrian safety laws and campaign awareness, and positive changes in behaviors by drivers and people on foot. These behaviors include fewer pedestrians crossing midblock, more pedestrians waiting for walk signals at intersections, an increase in drivers stopping for pedestrians at unsignalized crosswalks and yielding to pedestrians when turning, and reductions in driving speeds in participating communities.