Street Smart is an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign in the Washington, DC, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia area. Since its beginning in 2002, the campaign has used radio, newspaper, and transit advertising, public awareness efforts, and added law enforcement to respond to the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
The Street Smart program emphasizes education of motorists and pedestrians through mass media. It is meant to complement, not replace, the efforts of state and local governments and agencies to build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce laws, and train better drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
The program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), and is supported by federal funds made available through state governments, and funding from some TPB member jurisdictions.
The Spring 2013 Street Smart campaign is scheduled to run from April 15 through May 12, 2013.
The Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Problem
Overwhelming data show that area roads are not safe enough for walkers, cyclists, transit riders and drivers. In order to create a sustainable, livable community, the situation must improve.
A National Problem:
- 4,280 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2010, a four percent increase from the number in 2009. Pedestrians account for nearly 13 percent of total traffic deaths.
- An estimated 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes in 2010 in the U.S.
- On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.
A Closer Look At Crash Circumstances:
- 72 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting versus a rural setting.
- 76 percent of the fatalities occurred at non-intersections versus at intersections.
- Almost 90 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions, not during rain, snow and fog.
- Close to 70 percent of all fatalities occurred during nighttime hours.
In The District Of Columbia, Maryland And Virginia:
- The Washington region ranks 20th out of the 52 largest metropolitan areas in pedestrian deaths per capita. Adjusted for exposure, the Washington region ranks 34th most dangerous for pedestrians of the 52 metro areas.
- On average, over 2,600 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured in the region every year, and 89 are killed.
- In 2012, there were 3,033 crashes resulting in 70 pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, accounting for 26.5% percent of the 264 traffic fatalities in the Washington region. (Preliminary data compiled from DDOT, MSHO, and VHSO)
- Download campaign fact sheet
Supporting the mass media and public awareness campaign is a region-wide enforcement initiative. The DC Metropolitan Police Department and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board have stepped up efforts to share information on best practices in pedestrian enforcement with line officers. A standardized enforcement reporting form has improved our knowledge of the number and types of citations being issued.
Street Smart public awareness efforts are conducted in conjunction with increased law enforcement “waves,” in which police put an added emphasis on enforcing their presence and the existing laws regarding roadway safety. This multi-pronged strategy that has been shown to compound public safety campaign results and positively affect behavior.
During the fall 2011 and spring 2012 campaigns, 3,933 citations and 2,088 warnings were issued to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, according to reports from participating agencies in the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Prince William County, the City of Alexandria and the City of Rockville alone.
A seminar on best practices in pedestrian and bicycle enforcement was held at COG on October 18, 2011. Presentations can be found under the Resources section of this site.
Street Smart has conducted pre- and post-campaign surveys on all campaigns since 2002. This research is used to measure issue awareness and attitudes among drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. It also surveys awareness of the Street Smart campaign and its messages. Measurements were taken pre- and post-campaign in order to gauge the effectiveness of the spring 2012 campaign.
For the evaluation, surveys were used of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in a broad geographic area around the metro region. Research concentrated on the particular target of 18- to 34-year old males, as this group is particularly high risk in their driving and pedestrian behaviors.
A summary of survey results shows:
- There was a 10% increase in enforcement awareness from pre- to post-surveys – from 32% to 42%. Males 18-34 showed sustained high awareness from pre- to post-surveys, indicating the long-term effect of a consistent enforcement message over several campaigns.
- Media message awareness increased 7% over the campaign, and the brand awareness of Street Smart related to pedestrian safety showed a significant increase of 16 points among males 18-34.
- 81% of survey respondents among the general and target audiences recalled and retained the pedestrian enforcement message.