Pedestrian and tramway safety: Keolis Bordeaux launches a “weighty” campaign

In order to make pedestrians and cyclists aware of the risks of collisions along the TBM network’s tram tracks, Keolis Bordeaux Metropole and Bordeaux Metropole organised a week-long prevention campaign with the help of...a rhinoceros! The initiative was inspired by a similar campaign created by Keolis Downer, Keolis’ Australian subsidiary who operates the Melbourne tram network.

“Karlo the rhino” taking over the streets of Bordeaux 

No one would ever think of stepping in front of a group of 40 running rhinos. So why risk one’s life in the streets of Bordeaux when up against a moving tram? To encourage pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers to be extra careful around tram tracks, Keolis Bordeaux Metropole and Bordeaux Metropole launched a major awareness campaign from 14 to 18 November 2017. 

The campaign’s visual features a skateboarding rhino named “Karlo”, accompanied with the slogan: “A tram weighs as much as 40 rhinos. Next to one, you’ll never measure up!”. The prevention campaign complements numerous safety measures enacted on a daily basis by the Keolis Bordeaux Metropole team since the 2003 launch of its tram, which includes making passengers, tram drivers and locals more aware of their surroundings and improving infrastructure. 

The weight of a rhinoceros, the shock of a collision

The goal of “Karlo the rhino” is to make the people of Bordeaux become more responsible for their own safety by showing them the risks associated with a moving tram. A Citadis 402 tram, like the ones in circulation on the TBM network, weigh close to 55 tons with a standard load - the equivalent of a group of 40 rhinos. Unlike a bus or car, a tram can not deviate from its set path to avoid obstacles. In addition, one of these trams takes on average 40 metres to come to a complete stop. Pedestrian awareness is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, where a large number of pedestrians don’t pay attention to their surroundings because of distractions caused by listening to music or using a smartphone to make phone calls, text messages or play games. 

5 days of interactive campaigning

The “Karlo the rhino” campaign featured the following: 

  • Keolis Bordeaux Metropole (KBM) teams were present at stands at 5 different tram stations during rush hours. A tram driver, two customer service representatives and four volunteer KBM employees were present at each of the stops.
  • A life-size rhinoceros, allowing people to make a comparison between a tram and a group of rhinos with their own eyes.
  • Various communication materials distributed throughout the network: a special tram wrap for a Citadis tram, campaign materials inside trams and at stops, dedicated customer service staff, a cinema ad, social media posts and more.

A rhinoceros from Australia

Karlo is the twin brother of a rhinoceros created by Keolis Downer in 2011. The operator of the Melbourne tram network was the first Group subsidiary to use the mammal to increase public awareness. The campaign was hugely successful (-27% of pedestrian accidents in the 12 months following the launch of the campaign and -25% of vehicle collisions over the following 3 years), which led French subsidiaries such as Angers, Brest, Caen and now Bordeaux to adopt the same campaign on their networks. 

The initiative was facilitated by the Group’s “Sécurité” (Safety) organisation, which has made safety an absolute priority and the cornerstone of its project, Keolife. Led by the Group’s safety department, the policy notably collects safety measures from all subsidiaries, allowing the best practices of each subsidiary to be shared with others...and allowing the best rhinocerous in the world to be shared, as well.