And if you look at this map of collision locations in downtown from 2006-2008, they are occurring at intersections that already have traffic signals, signs, crosswalks and street lights.
So, as highlighted in Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan, changing behavior is one of the keys to making everyone safer, especially when traveling around downtown. It’s convincing pedestrians to look before entering the crosswalk and getting drivers to be more aware of people walking.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the data below, pedestrian and car collisions actually increase in the winter months.
This is due in part to more hours of darkness and the increased rain that we see in Seattle. Add in people rushing during the holiday season, and you have a recipe for collisions that can ruin or take lives.
Some have argued that trying to change driver and pedestrian behavior is a waste of time and resources. However, to create a walkable city we must use all available tools to reduce the number and severity of crashes. That means engineering improvements, enforcement and education. Our campaign this year includes bus ads, posters, stickers, displays for merchants, umbrellas, publicity events and public service announcements. The money we are investing in this pedestrian awareness campaign is worth it if we prevent one collision or save one life.