Keeping Washington DC streets safe with virtual reality
Having seen the success of the Look Twice project in Texas, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCG) wanted to leverage a similar concept and put it to work for pedestrian and cyclist safety. Using the latest in interactive 360 video and VR, CM&D was able to help MWGC develop an engaging event activation that went on to touch thousands.
Develop an event activation that engages with audiences young and old to help improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on roads in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
Faced with the top scenarios where pedestrians and cyclists are injured on DC roadways, users get a chance to test (and improve!) their skills as a vigilant driver.
Engaging with tens of thousands of event attendees and garnering hundreds of news stories, the final VR experience was so successful, MWCG renewed the project for an additional year.
Why Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality has the power to transport people to another time and another place, creating a sense of presence in the viewer. MWCG was able to leverage this potential and engage with event attendees in a powerful and lasting way, by putting users in the driver’s seat and allowing them to practice their skills as an alert motorist.
"It made me really aware of what was going on as I was driving and the need to pay attention to bicyclists and pedestrians who always have the right of way on the road."-Otis Gossett, D.C. Resident
Immersive Brand Strategy
Partnering with MWCG’s agency of record, CM&D helped to ensure the final VR experience seamlessly integrated with their larger safety campaign and event activation strategy, adding a valuable interactive component to the program.
In order to create the intended look and feel, the 3D VR environments in the final experience needed to align with physical automobiles used at event activations, a unique design challenge indeed. In addition, by leveraging ‘gaze-based’ interactivity, CM&D was able to create an experience that was easy to use, even for first-time VR participants.
360 Video Production
It was important to MWCG that the experience feel as real as possible. Similar to the Look Twice project, they asked that the VR environments be composed of actual film footage in addition to computer-generated graphics. This required the blending of live-action 360 video and 3D environments to create the final intended illusion. CM&D provided all the cast and crew required to successfully film on public roadways in the DC area as well as built a custom 360 video camera solution needed to capture the required footage.
Virtual Reality Development
With the final 360 videos in hand, the experience was moved over to the Unity 3D game engine for the addition of the computer-generated environments. Adding the custom UI interface and a few gamification components brought the final experience together nicely. Users are put to the test and awarded points for how effectively they can spot cyclists and pedestrians on Washington DC area roadways.
Distribution Strategy & Development
This was MWCG’s first dive into the world of VR, and they wanted to be sure they had all they’re bases covered. Working with CM&D, the team was able to create and implement an event strategy that worked well both indoors and outdoors, and engaged with event attendees of all ages. The final experience has been enjoyed by tens of thousands of people and covered in hundreds of news stories.
Immersive Brand Activations
To help make it all happen, CM&D provided MWCG and its event team with hardware support and procurement, technical training, and a custom live streaming solution so the Oculus GO VR headset feeds could be broadcast to onsite TVs and projectors.
Flyers Handed Out