Ísafjörður, a small fishing town in Iceland, is trying out a brilliant method to encourage drivers to slow down – they’re painting optical illusions on to the roads, making it appear as if obstacles have been placed over busy highways. In fact, one study found that a shocking 75 percent of drivers either maintain their same speed or actually speed up when approaching crosswalks, with only a quarter of drivers slowing down or stopping.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), speeding kills about 10,000 people in the United States every year, claiming about as many lives as drunk driving does annually. In 2016 alone, 314 pedestrians were killed in speeding accidents.
“Unlike other crash factors such as alcohol impairment or unbelted occupants, speeding has few negative social consequences associated with it, and does not have a leader campaigning to increase public awareness about the issue at the national level,” Robert Sumwalt, acting chairman of the NTSB, told USA Today in July.
Whether the 3-D crosswalks improve safety or not has yet to be seen, but similar 3D zebra crossings were trialed in Taizhou and Xingsha in China last decade. According to local reports, they were hailed as a success.“Pedestrians can now feel safer when crossing the street. It’s a great idea,” said one cyclist. “It is so magical!” said another road-user. “It looks more like a roadblock watching from afar, and I could not help to slow down before I found out it is nothing but a zebra crossing.”