Clemenger trying to keep us safe around trains

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Rail Safety Week may have come and gone but Clemenger BBDO has left us with a new, experimental way to make Kiwis more aware when dealing with railway level crossings.

The campaign earlier this month was a combined effort between TrackSAFE NZ, KiwiRail and Clemenger; the brief being to raise pedestrian awareness of safe behaviour around railway tracks.

‘The Conscious Crossing’ is a cost-effective series of moveable gates, designed to be put in places where expensive warning signals can’t be installed.

Says Megan Drayton, TrackSAFE NZ foundation manager: “When you approach a crossing you’re taking a risk. But familiarity makes you less alert to danger, and as a result people often don’t take a moment to check for trains. The Conscious Crossing could solve this dilemma.”

Says Brigid Alkema, ECD, Clemenger BBDO, Wellington: “It’s human nature to mess with stuff. A fact we embraced when designing The Conscious Crossing. Every time the public play with it, they’re actually helping to keep others alert in the process. It’s early days yet, but we’d love for this system to be taken and implemented at other crossings throughout NZ.”

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy says this year’s campaign has been developed as a result of an increasing trend in incidents involving pedestrians, particularly at urban level crossings.

“Sometimes people cross the tracks after a train has passed but while the alarms are still operating.  What they don’t seem to realise is that there is often a train coming from the other direction.

“There are also a number of incidents involving people wearing headphones and using mobile technology around crossings.  We are urging people this year to stay focused and alert at level crossings, and to put their devices in their pockets at any time they are around the rail network.“

The video for the campaign was filmed at the Epuni pedestrian crossing in Lower Hutt, a site which has had a number of near misses with pedestrians and cyclists.

By installing a number of moveable rail guards in the lead up to the crossing, pedestrians had to navigate a different approach each day. They were then interviewed to discuss whether the change made them pay attention and switch on.

“The more familiar we are with an environment, the less attention we tend to give it. Collisions and near misses cause severe and lasting trauma for everyone involved,” says Mr Reidy. “This includes victims, their families, emergency services personnel and witnesses, and our train drivers and rail staff.

A train driver’s perspective


Client: TrackSAFE NZ and KiwiRail
TrackSAFE NZ foundation manager: Megan Drayton
Rail Safety Week co-ordinator: Kirsten Kilmister
Agency: Clemenger BBDO/Proximity
Production Company: Flare

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