3D Crosswalks Will Make Street Crossing Safer

This optical illusion grabs the drivers' attention, so they are more careful in intersections.

Sep 10, 2019

Crosswalks are designed to allow pedestrians to safely cross streets Safely. We see these zebra stripes in city centers, residential neighborhoods, and especially near schools. Now, there is a new and much safer three-dimensional crosswalk that may be coming to your neighborhood soon.

The 3D crosswalks are an optical illusion that looks like the lines are floating above the roadway. According to Nation Swell, the lines also make the people who are using the crosswalk appear to be floating too. The cities that are using them hope that this will make drivers take notice and slow down.

It's an idea that is certainly worth trying. In the US, pedestrian accidents are at a 30-year high according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The New York Times believes that the figures have been going up in part due to the rise of smartphone use. Looking at a phone, can easily distract drivers as well as pedestrians.

3D crosswalks are one way to help change that statistic. One community to use this new zebra crossing was the small fishing village of Ísafjörður in Iceland that installed one 3D crosswalk in 2017.

City commissioner Ralf Trylla told Quartz that he saw a similar project in New Delhi, India and thought that this was a good way to replace speed bumps that cause more air pollution and have the potential to damage cars.

Was this experiment a success? According to Trylla its too early to say since there hasn't been an accident ever recorded at that crossing but that the floating crosswalk has received a lot of attention and people are driving more carefully at this intersection.

Other cities have also tried pilot programs of the 3D crosswalks including, cities in China, the UK, Canada, as well as in the US States of Oklahoma, Illinois, and recently in Massachusetts.

Two 3D crosswalks were installed in the spring of 2018 in Medford, Massachusetts by Brooks Elementary School thanks to the efforts of two elementary school students according to the Boston Globe.

Eric, who is in fifth grade and Isa, who is in fourth grade proposed the idea through Medford's Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility to Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke who loved the idea so much he invited the kids to speak at the Traffic Commission meeting held in February 2018.

“It’s been really well received and there’s a lot of excitement about it,” Michael Coates, a teacher at Brooks Elementary School told the Boston Globe. He explained that Eric's younger brother was almost hit by a car outside of the school.

“When you’re walking across you can tell it’s painted, but what we hope is, when you’re driving down, you’ll see it as 3-D, three dimensional. So it looks real,” Isa, one of the students, told WBZ.

Anything that gets drivers pay attention and slow down is a good thing. And this solution is so simple, it only requires an artist to paint the stripes and the shadows around them to turn an ordinary crosswalk into an optical illusion that can save lives.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.