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What is Heads up Halifax?

Heads Up Halifax is a campaign designed to help raise awareness about the responsibility shared by drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians when it comes to crossing the street safely. It was recommended by the Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee (CSAC) and launched in 2014 (Regional Council has since dissolved CSAC given that its work as outlined in the terms of reference was complete).

In 2016, Heads Up Halifax messages focused on reminding people to make eye contact with drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists when approaching a crosswalk to ensure they are seen and their intentions understood. No assumptions. No surprises. Other specific actions related to safe crosswalk behaviour include:

  • slowing vehicles down and scanning the street when approaching crosswalks and intersections
  • not crossing the street when the flashing hand sign is present
  • activating the overhead lights at crosswalks where such equipment exists
  • avoiding all distractions when driving or walking into a crosswalk area whether people are present or not

Heads Up Halifax also brought attention to Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day on November 15, which encouraged people to share on social media their actions and tips for staying safe at crosswalks. The municipality promoted these initiatives through bus boards, print ads, and digital media using extensive paid and organic social media placements.

To measure the effectiveness of Heads Up Halifax, the municipality completes post-campaign surveys:

2016 results 2015 results 2014 results

Insights from the 2016 Campaign

Survey results for 2016 are consistent with past campaigns in that a majority of respondents consider traffic safety a key issue for the municipality, although public awareness of any communications relating to traffic safety has notably declined over the past year (down to 52% in 2016 from 71% in 2015). While there is still strong public support for the Heads Up Halifax campaign, there is limited public awareness of the campaign, with back-of-the bus advertising generating the greatest recall.

While using a social media campaign did not increase campaign awareness, it provided the first opportunity to measure specific actions taken by those who did see and engage the online campaign.

Here are some high level insights from the social media campaign:

  • The Youtube video was the most successful part of the campaign with 130,000+ views and 70,000+ viewers taking some action
  • Facebook advertising reached 117,000+ unique users with 2,698 taking some action
  • Instagram advertising reached 71,000+ unique users with 548 taking some action
  • Twitter advertisting reached 58,000+ users with 861 taking some action
  • Halifax.ca/headsuphalifax had more than 4,000 page views
  • 240 residents entered the contest that prompted them to promote safe crosswalk actions using the #headsuphalifax hashtag

The municipality will continue to fine-tune Heads up Halifax to increase awareness and recall while developing ways to increase participation, engagement and promotion to make crosswalks safer for everyone.