CDOT Utilizes an Out-of-the-Box Approach to Promote Pedestrian Safety

September 15, 2016 - Traffic Safety - Fred Estrian, the classic walk signal man, comes to life in animated shorts


STATEWIDE – In 2015, there were 1,330 pedestrian crashes and 59 pedestrian fatalities in Colorado. 72% of the crashes occurred at non-intersections. To educate pedestrians and drivers on the importance of observing pedestrian laws, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s latest campaign features Fred Estrian, the classic walk signal man, brought to life. Hosted on social media, Fred Estrian, a play on the word “pedestrian,” comes alive in animated shorts that remind Coloradans of the importance of pedestrian safety.   

As the face of CDOT’s newest safety campaign, Fred Estrian has lived trapped inside a small box. His dream is to break free from his confines and do something more to protect the lives of Colorado’s pedestrians. Eventually he does bust out of his caged existence and interacts with the humans he loves so much. CDOT’s 15 and 30-second animated shorts highlight Fred’s escape and some of the major factors that play a role in pedestrian fatalities.

The videos are available for download at  They will also appear on CDOT’s Facebook page at

These quick, digestible and sharable videos will introduce Colorado to Fred and his mission, and will serve as teasers to Fred’s real-life debut, coming soon. The campaign’s execution allows CDOT to engage one-on-one with pedestrians, forging connections by delivering a serious message with a light hearted and humorous tone.

Utilizing a mix of earned, paid, social and ambient media strategies and tactics, CDOT’s campaign focuses heavily on the digital space to meet pedestrians and drivers where they spend most of their time - online.

“We wanted to think outside the box – literally – as a way to promote crosswalks and increase pedestrian safety,” states Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Communications Manager with CDOT. “Through Fred, the campaign is able to raise awareness and provide the entertaining and engaging content needed to make a lasting impression on pedestrians and drivers alike.”

The campaign also includes stencil art at crosswalks, intersections and transitional areas like parking garages. The water-soluble stencil art relates key statistics and safety tips to pedestrians and drivers across metro Denver.

Pedestrian fatalities and crashes are a growing concern in Colorado, particularly at non-intersections. The campaign aims to promote the importance of crosswalks, urging drivers to be alert when approaching a crosswalk and encouraging pedestrians to only use crosswalks when crossing the street.

For more information about Fred Estrian and the campaign, visit For pedestrian laws and safety tips, visit