Campaign to raise awareness
There were over 3,800 accidents last year in the Frankfurt urban area as well as on the streets and platforms around the city, resulting in 17 deaths. As well as general poor judgement of the traffic situation, dangerous situations often come about as a result of alcohol consumption or distraction due to mobile phones and headphones. In 2016, two pedestrians died in accidents involving U-Bahn trains and trams after crossing at a red man and not watching out for oncoming trains. On top of this, eleven cyclists and pedestrians were injured, some seriously. It’s little surprise that crossing at a red man is classed alongside alcohol and use of mobile phones as one of the most common causes of accidents according to police statistics. Pedestrians and cyclists often come off worse in such incidents due to being the “weaker” party.
VGF and the Transport Office are seeking to promote greater awareness and care among motorists and street-goers with a strong written campaign. In doing so we have relied on messages which tell little stories and maybe even shock readers, but hopefully also prompt people to pay more attention and take greater care when negotiating traffic. In the last serious accident involving a VGF vehicle (a crash between a car and a U7 at the Borsigallee / Kruppstraße junction), the young driver and her passengers were distracted by a mobile phone.
The posters will be displayed across the city at U-Bahn stations, on trams and as CityCards in bars and clubs to get the campaign under way. Accompanying clips will be played on the displays of VGF’s 600+ ticket machines and on the info screens at U-Bahn stations.
A second wave of posters is scheduled for the start of 2018 with the aim of reinforcing the message. Additional projects and partnerships, for example with care homes and schools, should also boost the campaign. As the people delivering the sometimes provocative messages, VGF and the Transport Office have chosen “Dein Großstadtverkehr” (Your City Transport).
Klaus Oesterling, the Head of Frankfurt’s Transport Department, had this to say: “With this kind of campaign message, VGF and the Transport Office have consciously avoided assigning guilt, instead making people generally aware of the dangers of road traffic, especially of disregarding traffic laws. The new campaign uses meaningful words to resonate with people.”
VGF Managing Director Michael Rüffer: “We want to significantly reduce the number of accidents. Because the most common causes of accidents involving our U-Bahn trains and trams are carelessness or insufficient attentiveness among other road users, this is what we want to target in the campaign.” The messages could be shockingly direct in some cases, said Rüffer, adding: “ultimately, though, it’s about saving lives”.
Gert Stahnke, Head of the Transport Office, supports this view but went a step further in his appeal for accident prevention: “Always expect others not to be paying attention and waive your right of way when in doubt, according to the motto ‘Watch out yourself!’.”