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Hamilton Township, New Jersey

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

From 1998 to 2004 the Hamilton Township experienced 23 pedestrian crashes and 6 deaths along the same corridor.

At the end of 2004 the Township began a concerted safety campaign involving education, engineering and enforcement solutions. The Police Department reviewed all the crashes and found several common characteristics; crashes occurred at dusk or nighttime; crashes usually involved young, old, or otherwise impaired citizens; crashes involved pedestrians crossing at unauthorized areas.

Several low cost measures were taken immediately, including fencing along highway medians, temporary message signs to pedestrians and drivers, improved intersection markings, countdown signals, and revised intersection timing. Longer-term solutions were also planned including median barriers, sidewalks, and overpasses.

An education program was implemented in the form of public flyers distributed at intersections and to jaywalkers, presentations given at schools and community centers, and radio and television messages.

After six months without much improvement in the jaywalking rate, the city undertook an aggressive enforcement effort. The Police Department increased traffic enforcement along the route by 600 percent and established a traffic safety coordinator. The New Jersey Division of Highway Safety helped establish funds for the creation of a Traffic Safety Unit dedicated to this and similar problems. The department also began issuing summonses to jaywalkers rather than mere warnings.

Efforts were apparently successful, with only two pedestrian crashes in 2005 and 2006 (and no fatalities) compared to 10 in 2004 alone.

Jay McKeen, Chief of Police

Filed in: Engineering, Enforcement, Case Studies

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