Pedestrians in New York City are getting a “heads-up” from the New York Department of Transportation in an effort to reduce the number of vehicle/pedestrian collisions in the city. Specifically, the DOT is using the power of a single word “Look!”, painted on the roadway at the entrance of each side of every crosswalk.

Yes, there are crosswalk lights and signs already, but transportation safety officials say that simply isn’t enough. At the intersection of 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue 75 people were injured between 2006 and 2010 alone. It is no coincidence that this was the same time period where smartphones rose to dominance in the marketplace and texting became a new national pastime. Which is exactly why the DOT has pained the word “Look!” on the pavement at the start of each crosswalk. The idea is to catch people’s attention, even if they happen to be looking down.

This is hardly a new idea. Anyone who has been walking around the streets of London lately has seen similar painted signs, only in that case the words are actually “Look Right!” which applies to foreign tourists who might forget that cars are driving on the opposite side of the road from most other countries.

The city is taking an aggressive stance against pedestrian vs car collisions in order to make their streets as safe as possible In addition to the painted signs the city is also launching a public safety advertising campaign meant to educate everyone who walks that they need to use caution.

…DOT is (also) placing ads on nearby bus shelters, phone kiosks and other street furniture to target pedestrians. They feature photos of eyes and text urging New Yorkers to “Walk safe/Cross smart,” along with the “humorous reminder” that “Mom was right. Look before you cross the street.” There will also be ads on the backs of MTA buses urging drivers to “Drive smart/LOOK!”, with the statistic that 57% of traffic fatalities involved pedestrians.