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(April 2, 2018) As part of the City of Portland's Vision Zero effort to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries, the Portland Bureau of Transportation today unveiled 'Struck,' a safety education campaign designed to get Portlanders to slow down. It is the largest public education campaign ever undertaken by the Transportation Bureau, and the first major campaign launched as part of the Vision Zero effort.
The centerpiece of the campaign, called Struck, is a forceful, attention-grabbing video that conveys a unique message about the serious impact traffic crashes have. The campaign speaks to the impact on the victim, who just lost his or her life, and to the vehicle driver, who just destroyed the life they knew.
"If we are going to reduce fatalities, we need to change how people think when they get behind the wheel," said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT. "It used to be socially acceptable to drive without a seat belt or drive when people were not quite sober. But with new laws and education campaigns, we changed people's behavior. We need to do the same thing with speeding."
PBOT Director Leah Treat said the campaign is built on national best practices. Research shows that education campaigns such as this one are an effective tool to change behavior, Treat said. Studies also show that cities can make even more progress by combining education with the other two Es of transportation safety: Engineering our roads to be safer and smart Enforcement to make sure people drive safer.
Treat noted that Portland's Vision Zero strategy is built around addressing all three Es.
"The Struck campaign will make our streets safer by educating the public about the need to slow down when driving," Treat said. "With this campaign, we are changing the culture of speeding in Portland. We're letting everyone know that if you cause a fatal crash, you will not only take another person's life, but your own life will be forever changed. Public education efforts like this are crucial for us to reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries."
The campaign will launch with a TV spot during the NCAA Championship game tonight, and on strategically placed billboards, buses, movie theaters and social media channels.
Portland ad agency Borders Perrin Norrander was hired by PBOT to develop an awareness campaign that highlights the need for safer driving.
The video recreates a car crash without any cars to put full focus on the toll deadly crashes have people.
While developing the campaign, BPN worked with PBOT staff, the Vision Zero Task Force and Families for Safe Streets to find a message that would resonate with drivers. A key insight came from Capt. Michael Crebs, who leads the Traffic Division for the Portland Police Bureau.
“The breakthrough came from a community meeting where Capt. Crebs explained how drivers’ lives are also deeply impacted by a deadly crash,” said Rob Thompson, BPN’s Executive Creative Director. “From that insight, we developed the idea that by preventing a deadly crash, a driver would actually save two lives.”
The Vision Zero Action Plan, adopted by the Portland City Council, calls for the City to take dozens of specific actions to end traffic fatalities. The action items include specific steps to address dangerous street designs and dangerous behaviors. The Struck campaign calls for the city to conduct multi-component education campaigns to build public awareness and leverage other Vision Zero actions.
PBOT is investing $300,000 in the Struck campaign, including production and advertising costs, paid from cannabis tax revenue designated for Vision Zero programs. The campaign will expand on the city's Vision Zero efforts, which include more than $40 million in safety improvements to streets in 2018, as well as new lower speed limits on residential streets.
The Vision Zero Action Plan identifies 30 streets on the High Crash Network, where safety improvements are prioritized. Roads on the list represent only 8 percent of city streets, but account for 57 percent of deadly crashes.
This year, PBOT will make safety improvements on 17 streets on the High Crash Network, including Outer Glisan, NE Halsey and outer SE Division St. PBOT's Vision Zero web site has a map of the 17 streets where improvements are planned to start construction this year.
PBOT has also installed speed safety cameras on NE Marine Drive and three other corridors across Portland. The safety cameras have reduced speeding by more than 50 percent, and they have reduced top-end speeding in some cases by more than 90 percent.