The City of Summit is announcing the conclusion of its Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign conducted by the Summit Police Department with TransOptions, a non-profit transportation group serving northern New Jersey. The program was initiated in fall 2016 and included 200 hours of pedestrian safety education and enforcement, resulting in a marked increase in pedestrian safety awareness and behavior.
The program comes as a response to New Jersey being designated a pedestrian “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration. The 2013 pedestrian fatality rate of 24.3 percent was nearly double the national average. Summit experienced 34 pedestrian-related crashes involving 37 pedestrians from January 2013 to December 2015.
“Our community is benefitting from our participation in the Street Smart campaign,” explains Summit Mayor Nora Radest. “An increasing number of residents are embracing and focusing on safe walking, cycling and driving behaviors, and that is the best possible outcome.”
An intersection observation study performed by TransOptions showed a 7% reduction in jaywalking and a 6% reduction in turning drivers failing to stop for pedestrians. There was also a 4% reduction in pedestrians crossing against the signal and a 2% reduction in distracted pedestrians using cellphones while crossing the street. In a pre- and post-campaign comparison survey, Summit residents and visitors reported declines in seeing people not stopping/yielding for pedestrians when turning (down 9%), drivers speeding in areas with a lot of people walking (down 7%), and seeing drivers running red lights or stop signs (down 8%). Survey participants also reported a 6% decrease in seeing drivers using handheld phones as well as a 5% decrease in pedestrians crossing the street while talking or texting.
"We found the Street Smart campaign to be successful in increasing driver and pedestrian compliance with traffic safety laws,” reports Summit Police Chief Robert Weck. “Our involvement in the Street Smart campaign had a positive impact on behavior and is helping to make our streets safer to travel for all users.”
Survey responses indicated that the campaign was highly recognizable throughout the community. There was a 48% increase in survey respondents that had read, seen, or heard advertising messages or signage that mentioned “Street Smart” and/or talked about pedestrian safety, and 50% more respondents reported being exposed to the Street Smart messages on posters and signs. Additionally, 30% more respondents were aware of the police department’s enforcement efforts during the campaign.
The final report for Street Smart Summit can be found here on the City of Summit website.