Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System


Pedestrian education for school children. Source: - Mike Cynecki (2010)




Pedestrian/Driver Education

Providing education, outreach, and training is a key strategy in increasing pedestrian and motorist awareness and behavior. While efforts most certainly provide information, the primary goal of an educational strategy is to motivate people to alter their behavior and reduce reckless actions. To implement the strategy, an integrated, multidisciplinary approach that links hard policies (e.g., changes in infrastructure) and soft policies (e.g., public relations campaigns) and addresses both pedestrians and drivers has the greatest chance of success.

There are several broad approaches to education that can be conducted with moderate resources. They include:
1) highlighting pedestrian features when introducing new infrastructure;
2) conducting internal campaigns within the organization to build staff support for pedestrian safety programs;
3) incorporating pedestrian safety messages into public relations efforts;
4) developing relationships with sister state agencies and statewide consumer groups; and
5) marketing alternative travel modes.

There are three specific types of educational campaigns – public awareness, targeted campaigns, and individual campaigns. Public awareness campaigns are a great example of a vehicle used to garner public support. An effective campaign can “lay the groundwork” for subsequent pedestrian safety initiatives and can increase the likelihood of their success. Campaigns to target groups are usually aimed at changing behavior patterns in specific groups of people (e.g., motorists, elderly, school children). Since changing behavior in these groups can be a long and arduous task, these campaigns tend to be ongoing efforts aimed at long-term results. Individual campaigns differ from campaigns at target groups because the audience is reached through an intermediary. Intervention occurs at an individual level through safety guards, doctors and other authority figures. Using these different approaches in concert reaches a broader audience and increases the likelihood of long-term success in changing attitudes and behaviors.

For more information on how to provide education, see “The Maryland Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education Program Administrator’s Guide.”9


Pedestrians and/or motorists can be misinformed regarding traffic laws, which may lead to risky or reckless behavior. Pedestrian and driver education can provide information to roadway users and help motivate a change in specific behaviors to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries.


• Educational messages should encourage people to think about their own travel attitudes and behaviors and make more informed choices.
• Pedestrian educational campaigns must be a part of a long-term and ongoing traffic safety program.
• Educational programs and materials should be sensitive of different groups of people.
• Outreach material should be interesting and involve visual as well as written messages.
• Difficulty in gaining political support needed to ensure a comprehensive program.
• Difficulty in introducing safety education within established school system curricula.

Estimated Cost

Costs vary widely depending on the type of educational programs used.

Case Studies

Allegheny County, PA
Bellevue, WA
Reston, Virginia
Phoenix, Arizona