Sam Schwartz Pedesterian Traffic Management Services a subsidiary of Sam Schwartz Engineering, was established in 2009 after recognizing the need for pedestrian safety. The concept of the Pedestrian/Traffic Manager (PTM) is an innovation that has taken hold in New York City. He or she is a cross between a traffic enforcement agent and a crossing guard. In New York, they are certified to work on the streets in construction zones, and have been adopted into the New York City Rules and Regulations. The PTM is required to undergo a certified training course and many have some type of law enforcement background.
The PTM is a special breed; along with training in traffic management, they are required to be trained in customer service and dealing with the public—a monumental task when dealing with busy crowds in a city whose population is consistently late for one reason or another, and tempted to jaywalk at the smallest gap in oncoming traffic. The PTM is not authorized to write a summons and the only badge of visual authority is his/her yellow reflective vest (with a Pedestrian Safety logo on the back), a whistle and a plastic lighted baton.
The idea of the PTM originally took hold during the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site, where an unprecedented amount of construction was underway in an area still teaming with tourists, residents and businesses. During this time, it became increasingly clear that the growing number of pedestrians in the area were in need of a safety advocate; someone who could guide them through this massive new construction zone with the sole purpose of their safety in mind, not that of the vehicle.
Since the implementation of the program, SSPTMS has expanded from New York City to New Jersey, Tennessee, Chicago, and California.
The Pedestrian/Traffic Manager complements the new pedestrian-friendly mindset of popular urban areas. A yellow vest, whistle and a friendly face can go a long way to encourage safe pedestrian behavior, but perhaps it is really the will of the public that is prevailing. They can walk with impunity, no longer the underdog in a world of honking horns and exhaust pipes. They finally have their advocate—the friendly face with the whistle, and reflective yellow vest and that special logo which reads “Sam Schwartz Pedestrian Traffic Management.”