Network Rail owns and operates the railway infrastructure in England, Wales, and Scotland covering 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and thousands of tunnels, signals, level crossings, and points. Level crossings, also known as railroad crossings or train crossings, are a core concern for Network Rail as they work to improve safety and increase the railway network. In the last seven years, there have been more than 2,000 incidents involving young people at level crossings and five fatalities. VR based online learning is a solution which can aid in solving this issue.
There are over 6,000 level crossings across the network. While infrastructure technology has greatly improved the safety at level crossings, Network Rail wanted to further improve upon the safety of level crossings by reaching out effectively to at-risk demographics, such as young people aged under 25.
LOW ATTENTION SPANS, HIGH RISK ENVIRONMENT
Level crossings are high risk environments where even the smallest lack of attention can lead to a fatal accident. Network Rail conducted a survey which revealed that a third of young people use their mobile while crossing the railway – so making innovative, emotive, and visual content that viscerally captured the danger of level crossings central to the safety campaign, was crucial.
CURRENT MATERIALS NOT ENGAGING
Where information delivery is as important as the message, Network Rail wanted to ensure that their public safety message utilised the full capability of commonplace smartphones. In addition, the campaign needed to incorporate highly emotional interview footage in an multi-sensory environment that could be repeated and discussed in a experiential way – and more than that expected from a safety leaflet or a guide.
EON Reality worked with Network Rail to create the world’s first virtual reality safety application for level crossings to encourage online learning aimed at younger generations. This application was designed to engage millennials and generation Z with a relevant story-driven app, available across millions of mobile devices to raise awareness, while still applying the organization’s key message “Stop, Look, Listen, Live”. The app, called ‘Network Rail – Level Crossings’ warns of the consequences when acting carelessly around level crossings through a series of online learning based first-person Virtual Reality experiences.
Each carefully animated episode used 100s of visual and aural references from real-world level crossings in order to apply the highest possible production standards in order to make the safety messages completely believable and engaging. Each animated story is then followed by videos the in-app VR cinema, displaying harrowing interviews conducted with affected families and safety experts.
A NEW BREED OF PUBLIC SAFETY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
In keeping with Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and their commitment to infrastructure expertise, their latest public safety campaign needed to be clever, utilize fast knowledge transfer and the latest visual storytelling methods, all while keeping content engaging and realistic.
“Network Rail – Level Crossings” achieves this by combining online learning solutions such as virtual reality, video, CGI and bite-sized story content with the mass market of smartphones capable of running high resolution visuals.
USING VR WORLDS TO TELL REAL WORLD STORIES
Younger age groups who engage every day on their mobiles expect strong graphics, believable stories that directly address them in a way which is honest and authentic. Network Rail wanted to ensure that real-world stories from people affected by the stories were not only engaging, but immersive and high-impact online learning simulations.
The iOS and Android VR CGI app “Network Rail – Level Crossings” provides a nationally relevant, vital public safety campaign as part-simulation, part first-person story.
The use of virtual reality encourages younger people to connect mentally and emotionally with staying safe at level crossings and in turn, helps key safety messages be remembered more effectively by providing immersive, powerful experiences on mobile.
STUDIO: EON Reality