The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced a statewide high school video contest to promote Safe Streets. Smart Trips., an initiative within the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) to promote safe walking, bicycling, and driving behaviors within the Commonwealth. MassDOT Secretary and CEO, Richard A. Davey announced the multiagency and multidisciplinary efforts within the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Program, a portion of the SHSP, at an event at Somerville High School.
"While traffic fatalities and injuries have been trending downward in Massachusetts over the past few years, pedestrian and bicycle-related crashes aren't following," stated MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. "We aim to raise awareness across the Commonwealth about the importance of safe bicycling, pedestrian, and driver behaviors and practices. Our young people, perhaps getting their licenses for the first time or riding their bikes to school, are a critical segment of our traveling public. The Safe Streets. Smart Trips. high school video contest is just one of our many approaches to target specific audiences and raise awareness."
The video contest is open to all high school students across the Commonwealth. Contest rules and guidelines will be sent to high school principals and can also be found at http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/GreenDOT/RoadwaySafetyVideo.aspx. A grand prize and runner-up winner will be chosen in October, 2014 and announced at MassDOT's annual active transportation conference, Moving Together! The grand prize winner will receive an iPad, a $300 cash prize, and a sponsor prize pack.
"This contest is a great way for students to educate themselves and their peers about how to safely navigate our streets. There has been a huge shift in recent years toward walking and biking, particularly in Somerville and Cambridge, which has required every road user to become more vigilant and pay closer attention to their surroundings," said Representative Timothy Toomey. "By assisting our young people in building life-long safety habits, we are helping everyone on the road get to where they are going safely, whether they are drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians."
The contest is designed to raise awareness of each traveler's behavior within the transportation system. In order to prevent accidents on our roadways, all roadway users must exercise care and caution for other travelers. The contest will also draw on the benefits of healthy and active transportation options.
"In looking to our mode shift goals of tripling bicycling, walking, and transit use by 2030, it is important that we extend the message of safety to the youth in our community as these initiatives will greatly impact their future," said Secretary Davey. "By allowing them to lead by example by demonstrating safe practices in this video contest, we are inviting them to see their own value in a multi-modal and greener future."
As part of MassDOT's efforts to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety, MassDOT just launched a program that will support local education and enforcement efforts. During this year alone, nearly a half a million dollars have been dedicated to provide bicycle and pedestrian safety tools to police and other officials in 12 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Based on the results of this program, MassDOT expects to spend more money in future years on such efforts in other communities, as well as on physical improvements that will enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety. The City of Somerville, is one of the 12 cities and towns participating within the initiative.
"Somerville has committed to creating and increasing options for safe walking, biking, and transit access for residents of all ages and abilities. But as we make progress, such as adding more than 30 miles of bike lanes, widening sidewalks and introducing bike sharing and walking school buses, we must accompany our efforts with strong educational campaigns that teach all traffic participants how to safely share our roads and walkways," said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. "Efforts to raise awareness of important safety measures like this video contest that reach our youth early on are especially important."
To learn more about the Safe Streets. Smart Trips. high school video contest, visit http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/GreenDOT/RoadwaySafetyVideo.aspx or contact Becca Cyr at Rebecca.Cyr@dot.state.ma.us or 857-368-8657.
For more information about the 2014 Moving Together healthy transportation conference, visit http://baystateroads.eot.state.ma.us/movingtogether/