Case Studies

Las Vegas: Pedestrian Safety Operations

Las Vegas, NV, has tried to address its high rates of pedestrian fatalities through targeted enforcement operations to reinforce safe driver and pedestrian behaviors. Nevada funds these enforcement operations by making pedestrian safety eligible for targeted-enforcement federal highway safety grants. Staffing limitations are addressed through the Joining Forces program, which is a multi-jurisdictional law-enforcement program created by a statewide memorandum of understanding that allows law-enforcement officers in one state jurisdiction to issue tickets in another for targeted-enforcement operations concerning driving under the influence, speed, seat belts, and pedestrian safety.

Law-enforcement officers work with UNVL Safe Community Partnership (SCP) program, a local transportation-safety-advocacy organization, to plan pedestrian safety-enforcement operations. Officers select the location of the operation in high risk areas (based on ongoing data collection) and run the operation based on a two-day training provided by SCP.

Before and after each event, SCP performs media outreach, which is a key component of the operation’s success: The goal of an individual operation isn’t so much to ticket offending drivers, but to publicize the need to yield to crossing pedestrians. The more media attention a pedestrian safety-enforcement operation receives, the more that safety message is reinforced to the general public. The most recent operation consisted of an officer in a leprechaun costume (courtesy of SCP) walking in Las Vegas crosswalks before St. Patrick’s Day. The media picked up the story and ran with it: More than 80 articles were published nationwide and 175 million viewers were estimated to have seen it on the evening news.

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.