Exciting new project builds on latest evidence to ‘nudge’ behaviour
In the light of recent research highlighting risks to pedestrians at night, the pioneering Safer Roads project has tested a new way of improving safety for those walking during night time hours.
‘Things that go Bump in the Night’ the new study by Road Safety Analysis has identified that while there has been a 48% reduction in the number of child pedestrian injuries in the last 10 years, at 22% the progress in reducing the number of adult pedestrians has been much slower. This means that as a proportion of all casualties, the number of adults injured while walking has been rising year on year.
The report further showed that impairment through alcohol was a major factor in night time collisions involving pedestrians. The presence of alcohol typically makes it harder to induce a change in behaviour as the subjects are less susceptible to education and less wary of the risks that they are running.
School Crossing Patrols have been a familiar feature on our streets for over 50 years, but could adult walkers, especially those who had been drinking, be persuaded to cross in a safer manner through the use of dedicated patrols. Could a behavioural ‘nudge’ from attractive patrollers in swimwear improve the rate at which young adults chose a controlled crossing?
The social experiment which was conducted over two hours on a busy road observed 370 people crossing the road and used hidden cameras to monitor behaviour. When the patrol was not present 43% of them chose not to use the crossing provided but crossed within around 20 metres of it. When the crossing patrol was present, the number who ignored the crossing fell to just 8%.
The effects of the experiment are shared on a new social video launched today that the team hope will draw the attention of a wider audience to risks associated with being a pedestrian at night.
Richard Owen, Operations Director for Safer Roads, commented on the reasons behind the social experiment: “At this time of year there is always a big focus on drink driving but drunk pedestrians are also a serious concern. Shockingly 1 in 8 pedestrians who are killed or seriously injured on our roads are drunk at the time of the crash.
It can be very hard to connect with young adults, especially if they have been drinking, but what we have clearly demonstrated here is that their behaviour can be influenced if we can find the right means.”
The project, which was developed as an extension of the ‘Blazed & Wasted’ campaign that originated in Berkshire this summer, highlights the risks associated with mixing alcohol or drugs and driving. The summer road show which coincided with the start of the World Cup showed that engaging with people at the start of a night out could influence their thinking about safe transport choices for getting home.
With the success of the experiment, you may be wondering whether we can expect to see these patrols becoming commonplace on roads across the county.
Dan Campsall, Communications Director for Safer Roads address this question: “This may not be a realistic approach to improving pedestrian safety in our towns at night, but has demonstrated that we can make a difference to the safety on our streets when we develop creative campaigns on the basis of the evidence.”
“What’s clear from our filming is that pedestrians and motorists alike certainly take care and slow down a lot more when they are reminded of how to use a pedestrian crossing properly”
More information will be launched in support of the campaign at www.crossingpatrol.com
In support of the project we released figures for each Geographical County in Great Britain:
Pedestrian Casualties Killed or Seriously Injured Whilst Impaired by Alcohol (2009 – 2013)