2022 Southwest Regional Award Winner
SGF Yields is Springfield’s local answer to the increase of pedestrian fatalities across the nation. This pedestrian safety program is designed to educate the public about right-of-way laws of crosswalks and to help change local attitudes amongst pedestrians and drivers, so Springfield can become a safer and more pedestrian-friendly community.
SGF Yields is designed to teach drivers to recognize and respect crosswalks by placing neon-yellow pedestrian statues around the city. “Mr. Walker”, whose outline matches the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) pedestrian and color, mirrors the fluorescent yellow-green crosswalk signs and helps modify local attitudes through “positive mental association”. He is not just public art, but also functions as the program’s spokesperson, the character that brings traffic safety education to elementary schools and need-to-know traffic rules to adults in a playful way. The statues are supplemented by heart-shaped look-alike pedestrian crossing signs that help remind drivers that human lives are fragile and helps educate drivers on the yield condition at crosswalks.
The program is executed by Public Works, in cooperation with the Springfield Police Department and utilizes engineering, education, engagement, enforcement, evaluation and policy work. The SGF Yield Coalition, a group of local leaders and non-profits, is tasked in building an educational outreach program that focuses on reducing pedestrian fatalities, by bringing practical pedestrian safety tips to the low-income and unsheltered population in a relatable way. SGF Yields and Mr. Walker are popular with the public. The program’s ongoing crosswalk compliance studies confirm that the program is measurably successful in raising driver compliance at crosswalks.
Other communities and states have inquired about SGF Yields and they are currently working towards a sharable version of the program. The “SafeAcross” toolkit should be available in 2023. They hope that it will help other cities make significant headway in pedestrian safety. Additional details about SGF Yields can be found at https://www.springfieldmo.gov/3529/About-SGF-Yields