We engaged millennials – the target audience – by meeting them on their own turf, strategically interlinking the digital maps they used for their daily commutes with interactive storytelling about pedestrian and cyclist casualties in certain areas. We ended up pulling on heartstrings, opening eyes and minds, and increasing safety without shock and awe.
Los Angeles is a city known for its cars. Lesser understood is the impact they have on pedestrians—i.e. how frequently negligent driving endangers or even kills pedestrians and cyclists. LA had adopted a street safety initiative, Vision Zero, to help fight this danger, but had a limited budget to spread the initiative’s message. They needed a simple but impactful digital component to their campaign, to help drive awareness. In an effort to start conversations about driver safety within families, UA5 was tasked to create a digital experience that would engage a teen audience. We needed to find a way to incentivize teens to engage and share this information, without pandering to them.
Through hands-on research, and various design iterations, we learned more about the thinking of this LA-based, teen audience. Many of them placed great value in digital map services like Google Maps and Waze to find their way around the city. They also felt an importance in treating the victim data with sensitivity and respect, acknowledging the real human loss in collision-based injuries and deaths.
We drew upon this insight to create an interactive map that would show vehicle-caused injury and death data in tandem with the daily routes of teens and other visitors. Interweaving the visitor’s personal route information would help make the data immediately relevant to them, as they could see which collisions had occurred within their own communities, on streets or intersections that they pass through on a daily basis.
Visitors could further engage by creating digital memorials for victims of vehicle collisions; entering into a street view-like mode, visitors added candles, flowers and other mementos to honor the victim’s life in an online parlance familiar to teens and young adults. All of these features were shareable, enabling visitors to spread awareness about the negative impact that negligent driving has on LA’s communities.