Case Study: IABC Gold Quill Award Of Excellence 2020 – Major Roads Project: Streamlining Hoddle Street “More Go Time”
More than 330,000 people travel along and across the Hoddle Street and Punt Road corridor each day in Melbourne. It’s the primary means of travelling north to south on the eastern side of the city, providing critical links to freeways between the north-eastern, southern, south-eastern and south-western suburbs and the Central Business District.
Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV), is the Victorian government body responsible for planning and delivering major road projects for the state. It was tasked with delivering Victoria’s first Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI) for the Streamlining Hoddle Street Project, a state government election commitment to improve traffic flow on Melbourne’s busiest arterial road.
A CFI improves safety and traffic flow by moving right-turns away from the intersection. It was to be built at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections, where Punt Road meets Swan Street and Olympic Boulevard. This high-profile location forms part of a major freight corridor and connects buses, trains, trams, walking and cycling paths servicing the Richmond business and entertainment districts. Olympic Boulevard houses Australia’s premier sporting and entertainment precinct, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere. The area is used by thousands of locals and commuters daily and visited by millions of national and international guests each year.
Business Need and Communication Opportunity
The project’s success depended on road users being able to easily and safely navigate the new intersection from the moment it went live. To achieve this, a widescale public education and awareness campaign was needed.
Given the sheer number of road users travelling along and across the corridor each day, MRPV’s target audience was extremely broad – literally all motorists who live in, and visit, Melbourne. As a result, their communication had to reach as many people through as many channels as possible to ensure road users were aware of the impending change and knew how to navigate the CFI before it opened.
MRPV’s overarching goal was to ensure that, from the day it opened, motorists were able to safely navigate the new intersection, resulting in no significant road incidents. They had two key objectives:
- Reach as many users of the intersection as possible prior to the introduction of the CFI to ensure they were aware of the impending changes and knew how to safely navigate the intersection.
- In the four weeks prior to the introduction of the CFI, provide road users with clear, simple functional messages that highlighted CFI benefits and minimised driver confusion, supported the smooth operation of the intersection, and reduced the risk of serious road incidents.
MRPV set clear targets to support these objectives and guide their campaign including that:
- their communication was seen by at least 400,000 road users within the greater Melbourne region across multiple channels with an average frequency of 20 impressions, for a total of 8 million views during the four-week campaign.
- at least 20% of their target audience actively engaged with their content.
- fewer than 150 people called their contact centre from the start of the campaign to the first month of operation with requests for clarification or further information.
MRPV’s communication strategy focused on providing clear, simple and functional messages in a variety of formats and channels to cater for the diverse needs of their broad audience.
They developed a comprehensive suite of educational content, including realistic 3D videos with aerial and driver points-of-view, short and long form educational brochures with varying visual aids, advertising with key instructions, radio and TV interview vision and scripting, and web-based instructions with supporting imagery. Where possible, they translated the content into other languages and published it on non-English language channels such as WeChat to reach culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.
To reach their extensive target markets, MRPV distributed content across a wide range of owned, earned, paid and third-party channels, aiming to reach people when they were driving, walking, on public transport, at home or during leisure activities. The full-spectrum approach gave MRPV the best possible chance of getting their messages in front of as many people – and as many times – as possible.
Led by their research and stakeholder analysis, MRPV developed two succinct benefits-focused key messages to capture the attention of road users.
‘More Go Time’ was the primary campaign message and described the project’s major benefit, while the secondary message, ‘We’re changing how you turn right on Hoddle Street. From March 2019…’ specified the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ elements.
These messages were always accompanied by a link or web address to find the educational content, or the ‘how’.
The key messages were supported by a creative strategy, which focused on colour and movement, and simple, uncluttered execution that would stand out. The primary colour used was green, reflecting the ‘go’ colour at traffic lights, supporting the ‘More Go Time’ message. Movement was also reflected using a graphic device: a straight green line that moved vertically off the page symbolising traffic moving unimpeded through the intersection.
The ‘More Go Time’ campaign achieved all objectives and far exceeded expectations.
To understand reach, MRPV focused on how many times their messages had been seen across all channels. This resulted in almost 21.3 million views, eclipsing their target of 8 million, and higher than expected engagement on several fronts.
From the beginning of the campaign to one month after the intersection opened, MRPV received 48 calls into their contact centre about the project. Of these, only 6 indicated that the caller required additional or clarifying information about the intersection function – a good indicator that their communication met the needs of their target audience. In addition, there were no recorded incidents in the first month of operation caused by driver confusion. Ongoing monitoring indicates that motorists have quickly adapted to the new turning movement.