>> Participate in Watch for Me NC

Participate in Watch for Me NC

2018 Call for communities

NCDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Division is working with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center to seek out new communities to participate in the 2018 Watch for Me NC program. Communities will be selected through a competitive application process. Applications are due March 23, 2018 by 5pm.

Existing Watch for Me NC communities — those who worked with NCDOT in previous years on the campaign — may continue in 2018 on a non-competitive basis. These communities must submit an abbreviated application but will be guaranteed resources in 2018 upon of application materials by March 23.

An informational webinar on the 2018 application process was held on February 14, 2018. Please see below for a recording of the webinar. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to view the recording.

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants include agencies with police departments, such as local governments (both municipal and county) and campus police. If the police department is the lead applicant, they are encouraged to discuss their plans to apply with other local government departments, such as transportation, planning, parks and recreation, health, communications/public relations, etc.

What partners get

1. Print materials, collateral and advertising

Program Materials Distribution Quantities (Click chart to enlarge)
Collateral quantities table_JG.xlsx

  • Bumper stickers and posters with simple messages such as “Yield to Pedestrians” and “Make Room for Bikes”
  • Rack cards that summarize references to state laws affecting pedestrians and cyclists and support enforcement and education efforts.
  • Posters that describe safe behaviors for pedestrians and cyclists. They work best inside passenger buses, public spaces and employee break rooms.
  • Bicycle lights (both front and rear) are available in limited quantities to distribute to cyclists observed without appropriate lighting.
  • Internally-lit or highly reflective arm bands or other functional gear to assist pedestrians running or walking at night.
  • Vinyl banners to post at highly visible locations to provide additional reminders to watch for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Transit advertising or bus backs with the “Yield to Pedestrians” and “Make Room for Bikes” messages may be available to partners where public transit services offer external advertising space. Partners should coordinate with transit providers to earn free or reduced advertising space during the program.
  • Radio PSAs that remind drivers to look for pedestrians and cyclists. NCDOT will produce the digital file and either negotiate with media markets, as determined by selected partner locations, or supply to radio stations donating air time for the PSAs.
  • Social media including Facebook and Twitter will be used by NCDOT to promote the Watch for Me NC program. Local partners will be encouraged to share and contribute social media links and stories throughout the program.
  • Sandwich sign-boards for new communities for use by police during traffic enforcement events to notify drivers approaching a targeted enforcement area in the community.

2. Law enforcement training

NCDOT will offer a free, one-day training course for police officers representing newly participating communities to learn more about state traffic laws affecting pedestrians and cyclists as well as techniques for staging enforcement events. Communities that have participated in previous Watch for Me NC program years will receive a half-day refresher course. Trainings will be located within a reasonable driving distance of each community. Trainers are current police officers with years of experience in developing enforcement and outreach events targeted at improving pedestrian and bicycle safety.

3. Action planning workshops

All communities will be required to attend a half-day Action Planning workshop. Participants will leave with a strong grasp of program components and appropriate targeting and deadlines for their community’s education and enforcement efforts.  These workshops will replace a series of webinar-based presentations. Partners will be invited to participate in two to three peer support phone calls to share progress and gain ideas to address challenges.

4. Earned media

NCDOT will provide template press releases to participating communities for local distribution and will distribute the release to statewide press contacts. NCDOT is also available to speak to local or regional news outlets. NCDOT officials will coordinate with communities and make efforts to be present at local kick-off events.

5. Technical support

UNC HSRC and NCDOT will provide technical support throughout the program, a timeline to assist with program planning, templates for letters to District Attorney’s offices, a partners-only listserv, crash data and best practices for using the data in local decision-making, and resources for evaluating key intersections for driver, pedestrian and cyclist behaviors.

2018 Partner responsibilities

1. Law enforcement participation in training

Involvement of police is a critical component to the overall success of the program. Described in “What partners get,” communities will be asked to send officers to a free training course focusing on pedestrian and bicycle traffic law enforcement, and a separate Action Planning workshop with key community stakeholders Each police agency will be expected to send representatives to the training who will share what they learn with other officers in their agency assigned to the Watch for Me NC program. Most training events will take place in spring or summer of 2018 and will be planned in coordination with participating communities.

2. Law enforcement operations

Officers will be expected to support the Watch for Me NC program in a variety of ways, including performing outreach and targeted enforcement operations related to pedestrian and bicycle safety, with a special emphasis on staged enforcement near K-8 schools. Law enforcement units will be asked to report statistics on the number of violations processed during enforcement events. They will be provided with bike lights and arm bands to offer to pedestrians and bicyclists.

3. Participation in action planning workshop

Every community is expected to send one or two representatives (including the lead agency) to an action planning workshop. Two additional community partners may attend as well.

4. Use/distribution of program materials

The peak season of the program may differ among participating communities but typically begins in August as partners work to distribute materials and host interactive events to engage diverse audiences on college campuses and across the community. NCDOT will work with partners to secure transit advertising space and purchase radio advertising for PSAs. The program’s success depends on its level of visibility to the public, so partners should also distribute educational messages through social media and seek media coverage from traditional outlets (newspapers, television, radio, etc.).

5. Reporting

Communities will be expected to report on the outcome of collateral/print distribution, traffic enforcement events, and earned media throughout the campaign. Program leads in each community will be expected to provide monthly reports of activities/events held, press coverage received, and enforcement operations conducted. They will also be asked to participate in regular project updates to be hosted via webinar. This is an excellent opportunity for participants to exchange ideas for working with community partners and the media.

2018 application process

For newly participating communities, the application includes three components:

1. New Participant Application Form: The application form (in Microsoft Word) asks questions about existing pedestrian and bicycle conditions and how the community will use the resources provided by NCDOT to address bicycle and pedestrian safety. Complete the application in coordination with other partners and stakeholders.

2. Required letter of support from the respective local government or campus police department: The letter needs to indicate intent to attend officer training sessions, conduct enforcement operations to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and, if they are the lead agency, commitment to attend an action planning workshop. If multiple agencies are collaborating on a joint application, a letter of support is required from each participating police department.

3. Optional letters of support from other stakeholder organizations: Organizations could include public health agencies, bicycle or walking advocacy groups, transit agencies, or schools. The letter should describe how the organization will enhance the campaign’s effort through public outreach, facilitation or leveraged resources.

For communities that have participated in past Watch for Me NC program years, please use the Prior Participant Application Form.

Please contact Kristin Blank at blank@hsrc.unc.edu if you have any questions or technical difficulties.

Partner selection

Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

1. Intra-agency collaboration: Communities with strong existing partners from multiple disciplines (e.g., communications, public health, police, schools, law enforcement, advocacy groups, etc.) are well-suited to perform the activities that are part of the Watch for Me NC program. Agencies with jurisdictions in close proximity to one another may collaborate and submit a joint application. Examples include a joint application from a local government and university located in the same community, or from multiple local governments in an identifiable region. The primary benefit of inter-agency coordination is to maximize NCDOT media-purchasing resources and enhance communications with local news outlets.

2. Leveraged resources: Communities are encouraged to seek donated resources from other public or private organizations to expand the reach of the program. Examples include commitments from transit agencies to provide free or reduced advertising space for external program materials, or volunteer services from a university to evaluate traffic behaviors at intersections before and after the enforcement campaign.

3. K-8 school focus: The program emphasizes improving bicycle and pedestrian safety near K-8 schools in participating communities. Applicants should describe how they will work with local schools (public or private) to consider school zones for high visibility enforcement, distribute educational materials, and encourage safer behaviors. Examples include plans for law enforcement operations around schools, expressed support from PTA groups or school administrators, collaboration with a Regional Active Routes to School Coordinator or other school coordination efforts.

4. Community-focused outreach: Communities should tailor how they will communicate the goals of the campaign according to the unique character of the community or region. For example, a region with significant tourism traffic should describe how they will reach out to visitors as well as residents.

5. Community profile and crash history: NCDOT will consider the population size and geographic context of the applicants. NCDOT hopes to work with communities of all sizes and in many regions of the state. NCDOT will also consider pedestrian and bicycle crash history in the community.