Changing behaviour and attitudes with hands-on experience

Two years after its opening, the Safety Exhibition Center in Curitiba, Brazil plays an important role in raising road safety in a country that currently sees 45,000 traffic deaths per year. It has even become a popular tourist attraction in Brazil. Behind the work is a unique private-public collaboration.

Two years after its opening, the Safety Exhibition Center in Curitiba, Brazil plays an important role in raising road safety in a country that currently sees 45,000 traffic deaths per year.

The Safety Exhibition Center in Curitiba is pretty hard to miss. A bright red Volvo bus shoots out from the facade of the building. Two years since opening, the space has become a big hit with the public. It is even listed in Curitiba guidebooks and on the travel site Tripadvisor, as one of top things to do in Curitiba.

“If you look at the numbers of traffic fatalities – it is unacceptable. It’s like a war! We lose so many people every year,” says Anaelse Oliveira, Coordinator of the Volvo Traffic Safety Program in Brazil. “At the same time, traffic safety is not something that is generally talked about in all schools here in a consistent way. But this type of exhibition is a step towards raising awareness and changing attitudes.”

Through the exhibits, visitors look back all the way to the Stone Age to get a sense of how transport has evolved through the years. Key exhibits give visitors the chance to feel what real traffic accidents feel like. By trying the ‘Overturn Simulation’, for example, visitors get to experience a roll-over accident first hand, and see why wearing a seatbelt makes all the difference.

Building a stronger commitment to road safety

The Safety Exhibition Center is the result of a private-public collaboration: Volvo Group Latin America sponsors the Center via Brazil’s National Cultural Incentive Law, while the Viking Association, Volvo Group’s employee organisation in Brazil, owns the project.

Marli Bonatti at the Viking Association has been central to creating the unique venue, which ties together history and technology to offer visitors experiences aimed at changing attitudes and behaviours in traffic.

“Our aim is to ensure that we are making a difference in the lives of people who pass through here. Through first-hand experiences, we try to raise traffic awareness in the different roles that each one of us plays day to day: pedestrian, cyclist and driver. Our biggest challenge is for those who have visited the site to make a commitment to safer streets: ‘What can I do to make traffic safer and more humane?”

So why is the Volvo Group’s employee organisation involved in the venture? “As its employee organisation, The Viking Association is part of Volvo,” says Marli Bonatti “and we share its brand pillars and its culture. We are committed to practising and disseminating these values both to our employees but also to the wider community,” she says.

Visit the Safety Exhibition Center’s website here.

Short facts about the Safety Exhibition Center in Curitiba, Brazil:

  • Cultural and educational project opened in October 2016.
  • First of its kind in Latin America.
  • Offers transformational experiences to change behaviors.
  • The Safety Exhibition Center in Curitiba saw more than 32,000 visitors in two years and three months.
  • The goal of the centre is to increase traffic safety awareness.

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