Cross the Street As If Your Life Depends On It

Greater Toronto Area, Ontario Canada

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


In 2002, Toronto experienced one of the worst years ever for pedestrian fatalities with fifty in total, which accounted for over half of all traffic fatalities that year. The Injury Prevention Coalition worked to increase citizen awareness and reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries in the Greater Toronto Area.

A dramatic poster created by the Injury Prevention Coalition.


The group came up with some innovative ways to spread their message. Ads were developed with the slogan, "Cross The Street As If Your Life Depends On It, Because It Does." Posters and safety brochures were sent to 900 different community agencies, all with the dramatic photo of a staged pedestrian fatality scene. Organizations included health services, police and fire stations, parks and recreations centers, senior centers, licensing centers and more. Additionally, ads were placed in 30 bus shelters at key intersections, and a short slide show was developed to be shown in local movie theatres, which directed viewers to a website with further information.

Costs totaled $21,520, with $7,400 going towards the ad placements in movie theatres, about $3,500 for the print costs of the transit shelter ads, and about $9000 for other print costs and various other small costs. Funding came through four main sponsors: the Ministry of Transportation, Famous Players Theatres Media, Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre, and the Toronto Transportation Services.


The media launch for the event was covered by several city newspapers. Over 867,000 people viewed the pedestrian safety ad showed in movie theatres. The media images and brochures were evaluated for the effectiveness of the message, and both were found to educate readers and viewers, and to remind viewers of previous information regarding pedestrian safety that they had seen. There have been additional requests for brochures and posters and several hits to the project website.


Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Centre
Room H259, 2075 Bayview Avenue
North York, ON M4N 3M5
(416) 480-5912

Image Source

Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian Project Award. Toronto Injury Prevention Coalition.

Filed in: Education, Case Studies, International

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