NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Street Smart NJ campaigns on pedestrian safety at intersections in eight communities reduced traffic violations and increased safety, according to a two-part study by the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) and Rowan University.
The study examined the effectiveness and impact of Street Smart NJ campaigns in 2018 and 2019. It compared rates of unsafe pedestrian and driver behaviors before and after Street Smart NJ campaigns were implemented and found significant behavioral and safety improvements.
Street Smart NJ, a program of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, was created in 2013 after the Federal Highway Administration designated New Jersey and the City of Newark as pedestrian focus areas due to their high pedestrian fatality and injury rates. Since then, the program has expanded from five pilot locations to include more than 100 municipalities statewide.
Among other findings, after Street Smart NJ implemented campaigns at high-risk intersections in Asbury Park, Garfield, Morris Plains, Newark, Princeton, Rutherford, Teaneck and Woodbridge, CAIT researchers found:
- A 60% decrease in vehicles failing to stop before turning right at a red signal or stop sign
- A 45% reduction in vehicles running red lights or stop signs
- A 40% reduction in vehicles failing to stop for people crossing
- A 21% decrease in pedestrians crossing unsafely
As the Region 2 University Transportation Center, CAIT was able to use its extensive transportation knowledge and research expertise to help validate the effectiveness of these safety campaigns, and provide concrete data to drive future decision-making.
“These results show the program is improving safety,” said contributing author Patrick Szary, associate director of CAIT, which is affiliated with the School of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Hopefully, the findings will encourage more communities to participate in this important program.”
“The NJTPA asked us to examine the behavioral change of pedestrians and motorists through observational data at various high-risk intersections,” said Mohammad Jalayer, a professor at Rowan University and lead author of the study. “These types of measurements are important, as they allow agencies to better use their resources when deciding what programs to continue and how to continue them.”
New Brunswick officials announced in August that the city had received a grant to join the Street Smart NJ campaign. The grant will allow the city's police department to further community education and enforcement efforts.
Awarded by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the grant is meant to assist with a Street Smart NJ campaign, which includes stepped-up patrols at high-volume crosswalks and intersections; high-visibility signage throughout the city; and community education component in our schools, houses of worship and community agencies. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to support municipal Street Smart NJ campaigns.