Project Manager

Product Designer

6 Weeks

Developed for Statens Vegvesen (The Norwegian Public Roads Administration) to raise awareness about traffic safety.

The challenge

Speed cameras are not highly regarded amongst motorists, in fact they are regularly vandalised.

Despite its negative association, the purpose and mission of the speed camera is fundamentally good natured. The speed camera is in essence a tool to ensure safer conditions for everyone on the road, by enforcing safe driving speeds. Its function is commonly misunderstood.

The effect of the speed camera is proven to have a short term effect; drivers increase their speed after having passed a speed camera. Therefore I wanted to create a campaign that affects drivers in a way that makes them keep a responsible speed for longer.

I approached the Norwegian Public Roads Administration with my findings, and a proposition to develop a product that addresses this issue. I assumed a Project Manager role and The Kind Hearted was the result of a six week design process that resulted in a touring prototype.

“If everyone kept the speed limits, approximately 60 fewer would be killed and 200 fewer would be badly injured each year.”

– Statens Vegvesen, on road safety in Norway

The Solution

My research included analysing statistics and surveys performed on road safety through the last twenty years, conducting interviews with specialists from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and motorists. Another important part of my research was exploring existing solutions for promoting road safety, and it's effect - as well as existing products for instilling notions of calm, and their effect. I performed a series of experiments and observations with motorists in order to observe their driving pattern, and I found the impact of sound to be significant. Aggressive music resulted in an increased occurrence of higher speeds, relaxing music subsequently showed the opposite. Since the goal was to impact as many as possible, I ruled out working with sound as an element, and explored other elements.

My research resulted in the concept "The Kind Hearted", inspired by toys that generate the sound of a beating heart to soothe babies at nap time. The heartbeat is universally recognizable, and has a naturally relaxing effect on humans. This is utilized in The Kind Hearted to subconsciously reduce stress by displaying the heartbeat in a gentle but clear pulsating light.

While the gentle pulsating light affects the driver subconsciously, a conscious understanding is an essential element of the installation.

The rational and emotional appeal makes the driver aware of their own actions. Emphasising road safety, the focus was to convey this message in a way that is not distracting, but simple, powerful and clear.

The simplified and abstracted interpretation of the human heart, shown in a clean red colour, makes it distinctly visible both in the daytime as well as at night.

The Kind Hearted is compiled of several visual cues, that together build the understanding of a human heart. When juxtaposing the speed camera, it is a reference to saving lives and encouraging consideration - creating a long lasting effect on motorists to keep a responsible speed also after they have passed the speed camera.