Making transit as cool as cars

For any city taking transit seriously (or not seriously), the video above is a must-see if they care to relate to emerging generations and grow.

The auto industry spends $20 billion in advertising in California alone. The question posed in the video above is, what would happen if the same kind of money was spent on transit? Or perhaps a better question is, what if mass transit was not only presented as sexy as cars are, but as cool as the progressive, open-minded, creative people who use it?

The City of Los Angeles did just that, hiring an in-house creative agency to communicate that transit (methinks the word ‘mass’ sounds too non-individualistic or unique to be associated with its riders) is more appealing and attractive than driving. In other words, to communicate what creatives really do think about it for once.

In the video you’ll see their most successful ‘opposites or problem/solution’ campaign that contrasted transit (known as Metro) with driving: villain/hero; stress/relief; bitter/sweet; naughty/nice. They went with bright vibrant colors to spice up their image, got Mattel to brand ‘Los Angeles’ on a Matchbox replica of their bus, and commissioned 300 professional artists to enliven Metro stations. They chose fonts and graphics for their maps and guides that you’d normally find in designer shops.

Results? Since the design switch, discretionary ridership has gone from 22% to 36% of commuters.

See the full screen here.

Update! Check out Metro’s website here and the Fast Company article, How L.A. Metro Is Enticing Riders With Better Design, previously mentioned in Public, private sectors investing in driving less.

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