3D Painted Crosswalks

  • September 06, 2019
  • Blog
3D Painted Crosswalks

According to the CDC, in 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States.  This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.5 hours.  Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015.

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Therefore, it is easy to understand that when an increasing number of cities around the world started adopting 3D painted crosswalks, the United States started sampling them as well.  Originally, 3D crosswalks appeared in New Delhi, India, in 2016.  Next, a fishing village in Iceland, called Isafjorour began using the 3D crosswalk. 

The goal of all of these cities was the same.  They hoped that these crosswalks would reduce the number of injuries and fatalities all too common to crosswalks. 

3D crosswalks are often nicknamed “zebra crosswalks” because of the way they are painted.  The shading causes the white stripes of the crosswalk to appear to float in the air from the angle of the approaching drivers.  The illusion is meant to shock the driver into awareness of the crosswalk and their surroundings.

No Definitive Studies on 3D Painted Crosswalks

As of yet, there are no definitive studies on 3D painted crosswalks.  There was a 2012 Masters Thesis from Western Michigan University, “Effects of Symbol Prompts and 3D Pavement Illusions on Motorist Yielding at Crosswalks” that compared driving habits at two crosswalks.  One had a pavement message that said “Look for Pedestrians,” and the other had a message and 3D illusions painted on the ground.

The thesis found that the pavement message resulted in drivers who were more liable to yield for pedestrians. Adding the 3D illusions increased that behavior but only at first.  Over time, the motorist’s behavior returned to pavement message only levels.

A 2001 study in the Netherlands found 3D illusions in the roadway had no significant effect on drivers’ speeding habits, while a 2006 study in the United States found that drivers tended to lower their speed in the face of the optical illusions on the pavement.

Conflicting Opinions on 3D Crosswalks

There are many different opinions about whether 3D crosswalks are effective in slowing down vehicles.  Some say 3D crosswalks work at first, but then drivers get used to them and treat them as any other two-dimensional crosswalks.  The 3D crosswalk stripes might even distract drivers and pedestrians making them unaware of one another and increasing the rate of accidents. 

There are others who believe there is no better way available to curb drivers’ speed.  Drivers automatically step on the brakes at a 3D crosswalk thus ensuring pedestrian safety.  The opposition worries that drivers will stomp on their brakes possibly causing an accident instead of preventing one.

The public might see the 3D stripes as obstacles in the road and raise their legs when walking on them.  This could in effect slow pedestrians down and increase road dangers.

It's said that 3D zebra crossings will help to force drivers to slow down and will thus reduce traffic accidents at crossings caused by drivers' visual fatigue.  However, others say 3D zebra crossings easily create an illusion in front of them, and their vehicle might hit other ones.

As transportation evolves, new ways to manage traffic will emerge.  The 3D crosswalk could be the start of many changes to come.  Only time will tell if 3D crosswalks become a mainstay in the United States.  There are already 3D crosswalks in Medford, Massachusetts, and Purcell, Oklahoma.

Compensation for Pedestrian Accidents

If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to do the following:

  • Call the police immediately;
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident before help arrives;
  • Gather names and phone numbers of any witnesses;
  • Don’t make any statements to anyone, including drivers and insurers;
  • Seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

At Mattiacci Law, LLC, our personal injury attorneys will review your claim and help determine who was liable for the accident and what, if any, damages are due to you.  There are time limits to file your personal injury claim, so it is important to call the attorneys at Mattiacci Law, LLC, today.

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