Positive results following Beware The Rhino campaign

Thursday 15 September 2011

Yarra Trams' quirky Beware the Rhino safety campaign has lead to a significant decline in the number of pedestrian incidents with trams.

The number of pedestrians involved in collisions with trams so far this year (24 to the end of August) is down 25 per cent on the same period in 2010.

This can be largely attributed to a significant decrease in the number of incidents in May 2011 - the month that the Beware the Rhino campaign was launched.  This is despite Yarra Trams running an extra 480 tram services each week when compared to the same period in 2010.

Young people aged between 20 and 39 are three times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian incident than any other age bracket.  People under 40 make up over two thirds (68 per cent) of all incidents (where the age is known).

Yarra Trams has just completed customer research to measure the success of the Beware the Rhino campaign.

A survey of over 1000 tram users found 84 per cent recalled the campaign when near a tram or crossing tram tracks.

The quirky campaign used cinema advertising, social media and university information days to reach the 18-30 year old target market.

More than 50 per cent of respondents said they have increased their own awareness of trams when walking near tram tracks which is a fantastic result.

It may come as a shock to many but almost half of our pedestrian incidents involve a person walking into the side of a moving tram.

A lack of awareness is particularly dangerous when crossing tram tracks. Trams weigh up to 50 tonnes - about the same as 30 rhinos - and can't stop as quickly as a car or swerve when someone walks into their path.

Pedestrians focused on using their smartphone or listening to music have compromised awareness of what is going on around them. 

Anecdotal evidence from tram drivers suggests that people using electronic devices are increasingly putting themselves in danger by wandering across tram tracks without stopping to check that it's safe to do so.

Beware the Rhino was promoted across a range of media including a bright yellow and black tram, outdoor ads on tram stops, a Facebook campaign and university information days.

The Beware the Rhino campaign will soon shift to target another key safety issue on Melbourne's tram network.  An announcement will be made in October.