What is New Jersey’s Street Smart Campaign?
November 01, 2019
In 2013, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority created a program called Street Smart NJ to assist drivers and pedestrians of safety measures using signs as reminders. These signs were strategically placed at certain roadways, pedestrian crosswalks, and intersections after observations were made by the federal government that New Jersey had a high pedestrian injury and death rate.
Since then, the Street Smart NJ campaign had expanded from five programs to over 100 across the state, being extensively used to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike. Researchers from Rutgers University and Rowan University observed traffic cameras at specific crosswalks and intersections that were in question for the Street Smart NJ program, and found a major improvement. After observing these areas before and after the launch of the program, they found significant statistics, including a 45 percent reduction in vehicles running stop signs and red lights, a 40 percent decrease in vehicles failing to stop for pedestrians, and a 60 percent decrease in drivers failing to stop before turning at a light or stop sign.
The Street Smart NJ campaign is involved in eight different communities in New Jersey. It is an intuitive program that uses signage in dangerous locations to remind drivers and pedestrians of the safe behavior they may otherwise forget. The data observed is important going forward; it is used to find other locations in the state that may need improvement as well.
New Jersey Ranks High in Pedestrian Fatalities
In 2017, New Jersey was found to be the second state in the nation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in total pedestrian fatalities at almost 30 percent. The federal government had also found the city of Newark to be a pedestrian focused state, as the high fatality rate is alarming. Since implementing the program, New Jersey has seen a significant improvement in safety across the state.
Funded by the state and local government, as well as local businesses and contributors, the Street Smart NJ program has educated drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists through a massive flow of street signs and additional media. When partnered with local police departments, it strictly focuses on educating those using the road and sidewalks, instead of just issuing citations. It has proven to be a smart and clever way to keep everyone sharing the roadways safe, aware, and alert.
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