Improving motorcycle safety on Texas roadways with virtual reality
Like many DOTs around the country, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) spends countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars each year educating local residents on everything from motorcycle awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving. A small increase in the effectiveness of this training can go along way. Working with CM&D, TXDOT was able to create one of their most successful event activations ever, all thanks to the power of VR.
Develop an event activation that engages with audiences young and old to help improve the safety of motorcyclists on Texas roadways.
Design and develop a two-part interactive VR training experience that allows users to relive the top three scenarios where motorcyclists are injured on Texas roadways.
The final VR experiences became one of TXDOT’s most effective and enjoyed safety awareness training activations ever.
Why Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality’s ability to fully immersive a user in a scene, creating a sense presence, is one of the technology’s most impressive attributes. When done correctly, your mind believes what you are seeing to be true. Leveraging this unique aspect of VR, TXDOT was able to give users a true sense of what it’s like to be a motorcyclist, improving driver’s empathy and alertness towards motorcycle riders.
"We had a great experience working with CM&D and would highly recommend their services to other agencies. It was a pleasure collaborating with them and our client was really pleased with their work!"-John Brewster, Digital Strategist. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing
Immersive Brand Strategy
Working alongside TXDOT’s agency of record, CM&D helped design two VR experiences as part of a larger public awareness campaign, not overlooking the challenges posed by hot Texas summer and our society’s even waning attention span.
Not only did the experiences need to align with the campaign’s larger goals and design aesthetics, they also posed a few unique design challenges of their own. The VR environments needed to align with physical 3D objects (a Chevy Camaro and a Harley Davidson motorcycle), as well as be built from existing design templates. Leveraging ‘gaze-based’ interactivity, the final experiences were also easy to use, even for first-time VR participants.
360 Video Production
TXDOT wanted to make this experience feel as real as possible, asking that the background (or environment in VR speak) be actual Texas highway. This required the blending of live-action 360 videos and interactive VR environments. CM&D created two custom 360 video camera solutions (one for a car and one for a motorcycle helmet) and partnered with professional stunt drivers to accomplish the task and get the job done.
Virtual Reality Development
The final 360 video footage was moved into the Unity 3D game engine where interactive and gamification components were added. In the car-based experience, users are awarded points based on how effective they are at spotting motorcycles in high-risk scenarios. In the motorcycle-based experience, users get to relive the three dangerous scenarios posed in the first activation, giving non-riders a chance to feel what it’s like to be on a bike in risky situations.
Distribution Strategy & Development
To help ensure the final experience proved valuable in an event setting, CM&D helped design an activation plan that kept user throughput high, procured and set up all required VR hardware, and provided on-site training for brand ambassadors.
Immersive Brand Activations
CM&D also developed a custom streaming solution that broadcast VR headset content to nearby TVs and projectors screens, so even passerby’s could enjoy the experience. The final experience went on to be one of the most successful motorcycle awareness campaigns the agency has ever produced. Donuts served.