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Tracks Can Kill, Live Outside the Lines Rail Safety Message Marks Major Success

Streetcar Safety Campaign Scores Major Success in New Orleans

by Angele Young, Veolia Transportation

The March 2012 launch of the rail safety campaign garnered significant attention and put the Regional Transit Authority’s message of safety in the forefront of the New Orleans community. The launch of the safety campaign was executed with the strategic placement of campaign yard signs in high traffic areas along the streetcar lines. Not only did New Orleans residents begin to notice the eye-catching signs but by evening’s end, one of the major television station’s in New Orleans had requested and interviewed the marketing and communication department for its evening news and by Sunday, less than three full days of launch, two major television stations and three interviews featured RTA’s new safety campaign on their news. Tracks Can Kill, Live Outside the Lines is admittedly a bold clear message, yet one that the local New Orleans marketing department deemed necessary to rise above all of the clutter of the multitude of advertising and media messaging targeted at today’s consumer audiences. And, immediately upon the launch of the rail safety campaign it did just that.

Even before any creative conceptualization began, it was the vision of the Regional Transit Authority’s Board of Commissioners to increase rail safety awareness in the city of New Orleans. The RTA’s Board Chairwoman, Barbara C. Major, and Commissioners were very vocal about the need for such a campaign and with safety among the top priorities for Veolia Transportation, this partnership hosted fertile ground for the growth of a safety campaign that would receive significant support and visionary leadership. The strong partnership of RTA Board and Veolia Transportation Leadership has fostered unequivocally positive trends in safety within the past three years. Veolia’s Safety trainings and initiatives, “Look Both Ways” signage, new and brighter LED lights on the vehicles and new lights under the vehicles are measures put in place within the past three years under the partnership of Veolia and the RTA Board of Commissioners. These measures have resulted in a reduction in total streetcar accidents by approximately 50 percent within three years.

Not only was the vision for safety a coordinated collaboration, the creative development of the Tracks Can Kill, Live Outside the Lines safety campaign was a superbly executed team effort as well. The local marketing team, operations/safety team, national Veolia marketing team and Spears Consulting Group, a local advertising and communications firm and DBE, all worked in unison to see the campaign through from initial concept and idea development to production and execution. A focus group of streetcar operators was also critical in identifying the most significant areas of concern for the operators themselves.

Now add to that the March 2012 launch of the rail safety campaign and the impact continues to bring safety stats to record lows for the New Orleans agency. Further, upon the campaigns launch on every day that the Tracks Can Kill, Live Outside the Lines campaign yard signs were displayed along the St. Charles and Canal Street neutral grounds, referred to as medians in most American cities, there was not a single accident – not one incident was reported for each day the signs were displayed! Most notable, is the most recent statistical developments in the safety numbers that can be attributed to the March launch of this highly successful safety campaign. Accidents involving the streetcars are down from 18 accidents per 100,000 miles in 2009 to only 8 accidents per 100,000 miles in 2012. To date the campaign has yielded a 70% reduction in incidents along the streetcar line!

With all of the campaigns previous successes, we are again proud to announce the latest accolades of the rail safety campaign. At this year’s American Public Transit Association (APTA) conference the RTA under the management of Veolia Transportation was recognized for the outstanding quality of the Live Outside the Lines safety campaign with first place awards in two categories of the 2012 AdWheel national competition in addition to a grand award for best overall campaign within one of those categories. The RTA received first place in the category of electronic media for the campaign’s bold and pointed Public Service Announcements (PSAs) targeting pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, drivers and all who encounter the streetcars on a regular basis. The PSAs were produced Deltree, a New Orleans based entrepreneur, and aired on all local television stations

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