Each year about 50 pedestrians are killed on Victoria’s roads and more than 600 are injured. About a quarter of the incidents occur at night in Melbourne’s inner city areas that are well known for their bars and nightlife.
In 2011, VicRoads engaged Currie to develop a strategy around increasing awareness among the 16-39 age group that walking while intoxicated is dangerous.
This campaign presented a number of challenges. Drinking is entrenched in Australian culture and a key part of socialising. Walking while drunk is considered low risk and often the only option for getting home, when taxis are hard to get or public transport has finished for the night. Convincing pedestrians the issue needed to be taken seriously risked sounding prescriptive or alarmist. To properly address the issue, moreover, a whole of industry effort is required.
The communications strategy included engagement with key councils and inner city bars, behaviour mapping in hotspots and working with VicRoads engineering team to understand the infrastructure possibilities to protect intoxicated pedestrians. Currie also held focus groups with both inner city young people and those who live more than 10km from city.
We developed a campaign kit that VicRoads could build and adapt over a number of years. It included real life examples of incidents, case studies about creative ways communities are addressing the issue and collateral for licensed venues.