Pedestrian fatalities have been on a dramatic rise across the nation since 2009.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association estimates that in 2021 around 7,485 pedestrians were killed – the largest number in four decades. Many factors have led to this dramatic increase:

  • The vehicle market has shifted to producing larger, heavier vehicles.
  • Nowadays’ personal devices constantly compete for our attention.
  • The way our streets have been built to primarily serve vehicles.

Achieving zero traffic deaths is a national priority.

The Safe System Approach builds a culture of safety and identifies the following principals to save lives, including those of most vulnerable pedestrians:

  • Zero is the Goal.
  • Humans make Mistakes.
  • Humans are Vulnerable.
  • Responsibility is Shared.
  • Safety is Proactive.
  • Redundancy is Crucial.

To diminish pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries, it takes a significant commitment from all road users, engineers, emergency responders, legislators and the automotive industry. The support for such sweeping improvements can be grown from the ground up, at a local level: It starts with changing local cultures and attitudes about pedestrians.

SafeAcross is a pedestrian safety campaign designed to initiate a cultural change in individual communities toward being more pedestrian friendly and responsible. The aim is to foster an awareness in motorists to actively watch for pedestrians and to yield to them at crosswalks. Pedestrians are urged to travel responsibly – using crosswalks, obeying traffic signals and following other tips to stay safe.

The heart of the SafeAcross program is public education. The program reaches the public through unique roadway signage, special events and outreach, as well as various print and digital education pieces. The public outreach portion is supplemented with engineering, evaluation, encouragement, enforcement and policy work to measurably increase crosswalk safety.  Read more about How it Works.

Meet Mr. Walker!

Through the SafeAcross program, life-size “Mr. Walker” statues are installed at various crosswalk locations throughout a community. The presence of these brightly-colored statues is intended to reinforce existing crosswalk signage and serve as a visible reminder to thousands of drivers and pedestrians that pass by each day. Mr. Walker is not only an eye-catching art installation, he also acts as the program “spokespedestrian” – helping personify the program and deliver the message of pedestrian safety in a simple and friendly way.

mr walker with group of children outdoors

How It Started

yellow tilted heart with pedestrian walker in it and text: s g f yieldsSafeAcross originated in Springfield, Missouri, as SGF Yields. The pedestrian safety program was launched in 2017 and has since increased average driver compliance at crosswalks from 25% to over 50% across the city. As other communities began to take interest in the impact of SGF Yields, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) funded the expansion of the program for others to use. The SafeAcross “toolkit” is now available for host communities throughout the region and beyond to launch their own local programs.

school children wearing capes and posing with a poster of mr walker