A new pedestrian safety campaign devised by the Virginia Tech/Town of Blacksburg Town Gown Community Relations Committee was recently recognized by the Virginia Transit Association.

The campaign, which focuses on reducing traffic accidents involving pedestrians and automobiles, received the Virginia Transit Association’s Innovative Program Award at its annual conference on June 9.

The Town Gown Community Relations Committee designed the campaign, entitled “Yield, It’s Worth the Wait,” in response to a growing number of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists in the town of Blacksburg. The campaign, which was launched in 2006, seeks to reduce traffic accidents by encouraging communication between motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The program uses a variety of methods to educate pedestrians and prevent incidents, including purchasing bicycles and equipment for the local police departments to help them better patrol and monitor high-risk areas.

Members of both Virginia Tech and Town of Blacksburg communities participate in the committee. The purpose of which is to examine opportunities and concerns that affect both communities as well as implement programs that benefit everyone. Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a joint concern. The “Yield, It’s Worth the Wait” program has gone a long way toward making Virginia Tech and town residents aware of these safety guidelines.

The campaign also includes a pedestrian safety video.

Since the implementation of the program, Blacksburg has seen vehicular accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists decrease from 18 incidents in 2005 to only 12 incidents in 2007. This number decreased again in 2008 to a total of only 7 incidents. Because of its success, the program is currently being modified for use by agencies in neighboring areas.

For more information about the Town Gown Community Relations Committee and the Pedestrian Safety Campaign, please visit their website, or contact Kim Kirk.

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