To date more than 90 pedestrians have been killed on NJ roads accounting for a nation leading 30% of all traffic fatalities. almost three times the national average. Googling NJ Pedestrian enforcement indicates that law enforcement has responded in some places with ticketing blitzes. However interviews with various government officials indicate that no one is quite sure how to effectively deal with the problem, with one official speculating that the economy was responsible for the increase.
Let's end the speculation and put together the facts. The stakeholders in New Jersey need to put their collective minds together to analyze and solve the problem at hand:
- Using police reports analyze a large sample of recent fatal pedestrian crashes with the Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Analysis Tool (PBCAT). PBCAT is a software application designed to assist State and local pedestrian and bicycle coordinators, planners, and engineers in addressing pedestrian and bicyclist crash problems.
- Compile the actual investigative follow-up from the crashes - were charges filed, were other counter measures recommended or implemented?
- Condense the results into a report that breaks out the most common factors, outcomes and recommended countermeasures.
- Convene a pedestrian safety summit with NJ DOT, Traffic Safety, law enforcement, elected officals , pedestrian safety experts and transportation planners all at the table.
- The summit would then generate a list of recommendations and goals for the state and local governments to implement.
- Follow up with an evaluation of the process. Did the recommendations actually contribute to reducing pedestrian deaths?
The task seems onerous especially in these tight financial times, however if the process saves any lives in the future than the effort will pay for itself many times over.