On Tuesday, October 22, law enforcement personnel, elected leaders, and transportation officials from across the Washington region will gather in Senate Park, just north of the U.S. Capitol building, to kick off the Transportation Planning Board's semi-annual "Street Smart" bicycle and pedestrian safety campaign.
In 2012, 70 Washington area cyclists and pedestrians lost their lives in collisions with automobiles, more than a quarter of all traffic-related deaths in the region.
Street Smart aims to reduce the number of pedestrians and cyclists injured or killed each year by using mass media and other outreach strategies to raise public awareness of bicycle and pedestrian safety laws.
This fall's campaign, set to run through November 24, will feature three on-the-ground "Safety Zones" at some of the region's most collision-prone intersections.
These Safety Zones, sponsored in part by area radio stations and local law enforcement, will include safety promotions, giveaways, and distribution of printed educational materials, as well as stepped-up enforcement of traffic laws in some cases. Street Smart organizers hope the zones will demonstrate safe and lawful ways for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to interact with each other at intersections and along busy roads.
The fall campaign will also employ the outdoor advertising that was used in the spring campaign earlier this year and which recently won a national advertising award.
The ads, in places like bus shelters and on the sides and backs of buses, feature images of individuals whose faces have been symbolically blemished by a tire tread as a way to call attention to the dangers confronting pedestrians and bicyclists.
The images will be accompanied by key safety messages aimed at reminding all travelers to be on the look-out for one another and to take steps to reduce the likelihood of collisions. These messages will also be broadcast on area radio stations, through sponsorships of traffic reports.
An evaluation of the most recent Street Smart campaign, which took place in April 2013, showed that 50% of people whose primary travel mode is walking reported having seen or heard the Street Smart safety messages. Around 27% of drivers reported having seen or heard them.
This fall, in an effort to reach more drivers, the Street Smart campaign will include ads on top of gasoline pumps at 122 filling stations across the region.
Street Smart started in 2002 as a cooperative effort by local, state, and federal agencies to reduce the number of cyclist and pedestrian injuries and deaths in the Washington region. The safety campaign is one of a number of programs coordinated by the Transportation Planning Board to benefit travelers throughout the Washington region.