The Street Smart NJ program is making a difference by getting people to think about safety and change their risky behaviors when driving and walking, according to a new analysis of the program.
The Center for Advanced Infrastructure at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Rutgers CAIT), conducted an analysis of campaigns conducted in Teaneck, Asbury Park, Garfield, Newark, Morris Plains, Princeton, Rutherford and Woodbridge in 2018 and 2019. Overall, the analysis found that following Street Smart NJ campaigns in those communities there was a:
- 60 percent improvement is motorists stopping for people crossing before turning right at a red light or stop sign;
- 45 percent reduction in drivers running a red light or stop sign;
- 40 percent improvement in vehicles turning on a green light or at an unsigned intersection stopping for people crossing; and
- 21 percent improvement in people crossing unsafely against a signal or outside of a crosswalk.
“These results illustrate that Street Smart NJ is helping make our roads safer for everyone,” said Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, Chair of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees. “By combining education and enforcement we can make a difference and help New Jersey work toward its goal of zero fatalities.”
Street Smart NJ combines public education — through in-person outreach, informational materials, social media and media coverage — with targeted enforcement to encourage people to change their behaviors that contribute to crashes.
Since the NJTPA first piloted Street Smart NJ in five communities in 2013 and 2014 the program has grown to more than 100 municipalities across the state. The NJTPA regularly evaluates its Street Smart NJ program to ensure its effectiveness. The last evaluation was completed in 2016.
Law enforcement and campaign partners, including the NJTPA and the state’s eight transportation management associations, used crash data and other factors to select focus intersections in each community. Teams from Rutgers CAIT visited each intersection prior to Street Smart NJ campaigns in those communities and observed the behavior of drivers and people walking. Cameras were used to record the driver and pedestrian activity to ensure observations were accurate. The teams returned after the campaigns were completed to observe the same behaviors and then compared data from before and after the campaigns.
Rutgers CAIT observed four behaviors that are cited as contributing factors in crashes:
- Turning Vehicle Fails to Stop for Pedestrian: A vehicle making a left or right turn at a green signal or an unsigned intersection approach fails to stop for a pedestrian crossing parallel to the approach.
- Failure to Stop before Right Turn at Red Signal or Stop Sign: A right turning vehicle fails to make a complete stop and stay stopped for pedestrians before making a right turn on red or at a stop sign.
- Running Red Light Signal or Stop Sign: A vehicle passing an intersection when the traffic signal is red or there is a stop sign.
- Unsafe Crossing and Crossing Against the Signal: A person crosses more than half of the street outside of the crosswalk or begins crossing the street while the signal indicates “Don’t Walk.”
“Overall, the observation results demonstrate the positive impact the Street Smart NJ campaign has on changing pedestrian and driver behaviors,” the Rutgers CAIT analysis concludes.