U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
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In San Francisco, multiple city agencies and non-profit groups conduct education and outreach about traffic and pedestrian safety topics frequently. Among these efforts are the following:
The Public Health Department has held traffic calming/pedestrian safety media campaigns annually for several years. Typically, a different theme is chosen for each year, for example, focusing on fines one year, and the benefits of courteous driving and walking the next year.
The Public Health Department holds an annual pedestrian safety summit for neighborhood organizations and citywide advocacy groups, providing a forum for sharing ideas regarding outreach efforts.
Advocacy groups such as Walk San Francisco and Senior Action Network hold media and public events, including demonstrations and meetings, to call attention to the need for improving safety.
The regional office of the California State Auto Association has focused on traffic and pedestrian safety over the last several years. For example, they funded the pilot countdown signal effort and distributed a flyer explaining how the devices work.
The Police Department Traffic Company participates in many of the above efforts.
The education and outreach program developed specifically for PedSafe consisted of three tracks: (1) development/distribution of video public service announcements (PSAs) to cable and small/ethnic local TV stations, (2) presentations to schools and senior citizen facilities, and (3) distribution of retro-reflective materials at the presentations and independently. Details of the pedestrian outreach and education effort specifically for PedSafe are provided in Appendix A.
The video PSAs were initially included in the FHWA Pedestrian Safety Campaign Planner. One of these very short (20 second) PSAs was targeted toward drivers, and the other had messages for both pedestrians and drivers. SFMTA staff arranged for Spanish, Russian, Chinese/Cantonese, and Chinese/Mandarin voice-over versions. These were distributed to local TV and cable stations, with the assistance of a media expert: Dave Winters of DW Multimedia of Emeryville, California.
The city government cable station claimed that it aired the PSAs 858 times, fairly evenly split among the different languages. The major regional cable operator indicated that their policy limits them to airing only PSAs sent from the corporate office and that they had therefore ignored our submittal. Four other local TV stations (including Spanish and Chinese language stations) declined to reply.17
The direct outreach program was presented at five senior centers and six public elementary and middle schools in or near study zones. The presentations included general safety tips and information about the PedSafe project and other topics related to pedestrian safety. Retro-reflective items, such as armbands, were distributed at the presentations.
The retro-reflective accessories were also provided to schools and senior centers that could not accommodate a presentation. The purchase included: 3,000 zipper pulls, 1,250 clipsters/badge holders, 750 armbands, and 250 belt wraps. The accessories were emblazoned safety slogans.
It was not possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the outreach efforts. However, UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center observers were posted at Spring Valley Elementary School, located in San Francisco’s affluent Russian Hill neighborhood, one month after retro-reflective materials (armbands and bag/belt wraps) were distributed at a school assembly. No use was noted between 7:30 and 8:00 AM during the third week of February 2006, as the students arrived at the school. Sunrise was about 6:45 AM, so there was marginal need for the children to be wearing the materials. However, that observation and anecdotal evidence suggest that use of the materials was limited.
17The city government station is SFGTV (Channels 26 and 28). The other stations included Royal Channel (KMTP 32), Univision (Channel 14 and 66), KTSF (Channel 26), and KNTC Azteca (Channel 42). The cable operator was Comcast, the largest regional service.
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