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Campaign targets pedestrian distractions

NEWS RELEASE
29 April 2014


Campaign targets pedestrian distractions

From 29 April people in central Wellington will see a new road safety campaign to encourage them to cross the road safely.

The central message of Wellington City Council’s think, look and then cross campaign is to encourage people to be aware of traffic and their environment; to think and look, before they cross the road.

Councillor Andy Foster, the Chair of the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says recent research findings show that distraction and low attentiveness are key factors in people crossing without heeding the traffic. There is also evidence that people are stepping off the kerb before looking for other traffic.

The campaign is focusing on central Wellington where on average there are 36,000 people out walking every hour.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians in Wellington’s CBD through improved awareness.

Information will be gathered about what people find distracting and this will feed into future campaign development. Online activities including a survey will support this message.

The think, look and then cross message will also appear on posters, buses and bus shelters in the CBD in May. The message will be also be visible to commuters on their way to the central city on road safety billboards.

This campaign complements other City Council initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. These include wider footpaths, street furniture, more crossing points and consultation on lowering the speed limit in the central city.

Cr Foster says the $100,000 campaign aims to encouraging people to think and look before crossing the road. “The vast majority of people will successfully cross the street without incident every day. But we want the city to be safe and easy to get around on foot – especially these days when people have more distractions to deal with – whether it be smartphones or just hectic schedules driven by the 21st century pace of life.”

The Council’s City Networks Manager, Stavros Michael, says the campaign does not just target the Golden Mile in the CBD. “The Golden Mile is actually responsible for only a small proportion of the pedestrian injuries in the CBD.

“Our generally narrow streets tend to encourage pedestrians to take a fairly casual approach to crossing. What we want people to do is be fully aware of their surroundings before they step out.”


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