Educating College-Aged Pedestrians

College-age students represent unique pedestrian education opportunities and challenges. On one hand, many college-age students are more likely to walk and bike. This is due to restricted campus parking, the expense of car-ownership, and the fact that students are young, able, and generally more physically fit than other age groups. They are an ideal target for pedestrian safety and promotion campaigns. However, college-age students tend to take more risks than other age groups, and they have a stronger perception of "invincibility," and may be apathetic to safety outreach initiatives.

Tips for Crossing Campus Safely on Foot

  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks or at intersections, and observe traffic-control signals.
  • Yield to motor vehicles and bicyclists when you are not in a crosswalk or are not crossing at an intersection.
  • Stay to the right on shared pathways and avoid walking in "bike only" lanes.
  • While walking or jogging alongside a road without sidewalks, always walk or jog facing traffic.
  • Make eye contact with oncoming motorists and cyclists, and indicate your intention to cross.
  • Be observant — be seen — be safe: avoid cell phone use when walking in congested areas or crossing busy streets; wear bright colors and walk in well-lighted areas at night; don't step into the street from behind an obstruction.

Strategies for Educating College-Age Pedestrians

  • Tailor a program to relate to specific student population needs and interests — this helps engage students in understanding why pedestrian safety is important and how it affects them directly. Teach them what they can do, both personally and as part of the college/university, to improve pedestrian safety and increase walking on campus and beyond.
  • Develop partnerships for education programs — with the Parking and Transportation Services Office, the Department of Public Safety, campus health organizations, public health/injury prevention alliances or student associations, or other student groups such as walking/bicycling clubs or environmental groups to gather buy-in and support from the campus community.
  • Take advantage of campus life and university events — distribute pamphlets or other materials at new student orientations, large student assemblies (such as sporting events), or through campus housing.
  • Give incentives — students love free stuff. While distributing safety messages, garner student interest by giving away wristbands, reflective gear, posters, coupons for local restaurants, or other freebies.

Helpful Links

Watch for Me NC Campaign: This is an ongoing pedestrian and bicycle education and enforcement campaign sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The program has worked closely with municipalities and colleges across the state to better education drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists of safe behaviors, as well as with associated law enforcement agencies to better enforce laws affecting pedestrians, and bicyclists.