Innovations in Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety

Innovations in Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety

Thousands of pedestrians are killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents each year, and many thousands more are injured. Pedestrian safety remains a top priority, and cities and towns across the country and around the globe continue to investigate more effective ways to improve crosswalk safety.

Innovative 3-D Pedestrian Crossings

One development that has attracted interest is creating 3-D deterrents to speeding. Last fall, people around the world were fascinated by the 3-D illusion of a painted crosswalk in the small town of Ísafjörður in Iceland. The eye-catching pedestrian crossing, painted in an effort to get motorists to slow down on a narrow street, gives the effect of walking on air as pedestrians and bicyclists move from one side of the street to the other.

The optical illusion shifts depending on your perspective. From the air, the white stripes jump hover just above the ground. Right now the project is experimental, with the town seeing up, making them appear as a column of walls. At ground level, the bars seem to what effect the creative zebra crossing will have before deciding to roll out more in other areas of the village.

Similar projects have been created in New Delhi, India, and in West Vancouver, Canada, where the 3-D optical illusion of a girl running into the street to retrieve a ball has been used to slow traffic at high-risk intersections.

FWHA Rules Favor Consistency

Here in the United States, the marketplace looked to capitalize on advancements in pavement retroreflectivity in the mid-2000s, and advocated for using these aesthetic treatments on public streets as a way to increase crosswalk visibility day and night. In 2004 and in 2005, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued two Official Rulings discouraging the implementation of such treatments and also concluded that these enhancements had no increased effect on safety.

The evolution of crosswalk treatments expanded into the form of "crosswalk art", defined as any freeform design to draw attention to the crosswalk. In 2011, the FHWA issued an additional ruling that crosswalk art would degrade the contrast of the required white transverse lines against the pavement beneath it. In addition, the ruling stated that the use of crosswalk art could contribute to a false sense of security for both motorists and pedestrians.

Pedestrian Crossing Products Improve Safety

The FHWA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) clearly favors uniformity when it comes to traffic control devices, which include signs, signals and pavement markings. While this currently limits the implementation of 3-D crosswalk innovations, there is an ongoing effort to improve products designed to increase visibility at pedestrian crossings and alert motorists to slow down.

Traffic Safety Direct offers a wide range of products for use in making crosswalks safer. These include 18" Plastic Stop/Stop Paddles that are ideal for school crossing guards and police, and ADA Warning Mats designed to alert people with disabilities of upcoming intersections by creating a textured surface on concrete sidewalks.

We also carry a variety of signs that meet MUTCD requirements. Standard 30” Pedestrian Crossing signs are available in Engineer, Hi-Intensity and Diamond grade yellow or FYG Lime Green. Our Solar LED Pedestrian Crossing Sign provides added safety on the road or in schools and shopping centers with its flashing solar powered LED lights.

In addition, quick release In Street Pedestrian Crossing signs protect pedestrians and save money because you can simply replace any damaged parts. Available in either “Stop” or “Yield”, both signs feature double-sided polyethylene panels that withstand the elements, and a reactive spring assembly that enables the sign to bounce back on impact. You can choose from portable and fixed base options to suit specific needs.

View our latest video for details, and shop our online store for a wide selection of products to meet all of your traffic safety needs. Our competitive pricing makes summertime the ideal time to purchase or stock up on the items you use most, so contact us today!

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