In a world where we are constantly on our smart phones or absorbed in screens, most people will admit to those times of being distracted when walking down the street, and not looking up from our phones when we cross the road. Each year 4,500 pedestrians are victims of road traffic crashes in the Paris area. So the Parisian Road Safety Authority (La Securité Routière d’Ile de France) and Serviceplan France conceived a powerful outdoor campaign designed to deter people from crossing on a red light, and make them aware of the importance of paying attention when crossing the road.
The “Virtual Crash Billboard” was installed in a busy Paris street on 22nd March. When a person crossed the pedestrian crossing on a red light, the billboard made the sound of a car braking in an emergency, then automatically took a photograph of the shocked pedestrian and displayed it on a large screen next to the crossing with the road safety message: “Don’t take the risk of facing death.”
The idea behind the operation was to display a specially designed interactive digital billboard near a busy pelican crossing. Equipped with a movement detector, speaker, and camera, the smart billboard made the sound of screeching tires whenever a pedestrian attempted to cross the road while the “red man” was displayed. The digital video and posters, created under real-life conditions, will be used as part of the forthcoming “Quinzaine Régionale des Usagers Vulnérables” (15-28 May 2017) on train station billboards and in a Facebook campaign.