Is there anything less interesting to look at than a crosswalk or a speed bump? They are so common, our eyes often fail to recognize them while driving. As a result, drivers sail right along without slowing, which can lead to unintended consequences. Traffic safety engineers have tried everything to get people to pay attention to crosswalks and speed bumps — flashing lights, warning signs and overhead lights that make them more visible at night. Nothing makes much difference. Drivers continue to ignore them.

Recently, the city of New Delhi, India tried something different. Using special trompe l’oiel artwork, they created a crosswalk and speed bump that looks three dimensional. Ralf Trylla, a visitor from Iceland, saw the result and wondered if it could be used effectively back in his hometown of Ísafjörður, where he is the local environmental commissioner.

3D sidewalk Iceland

It took several weeks for workers from street painting company  Vegmálun to get the optical illusion just right, but now drivers see a three dimensional crosswalk that appears to float above the surface of the road. Pedestrians look like they are stepping on a series of rocks across a small stream. When viewed from above, the crosswalk looks like a collection of vertical walls. The completed project is an experiment designed to see if the 3D artwork will actually slow drivers down. If it does, the town may decide to expand its use to other intersections in the small fishing village.

Crosswalks are also getting attention from other communities. In Baltimore, local artists are painting them to look like giant hopscotch boards or zippers — anything to get the attention of pedestrians and motorists alike. It’s all part of an effort to draw people’s attention to the new Westside Arts and Entertainment District. Perhaps in the future, other cities will feature the mind bending artwork of M.C. Escher. Anything to get people to pay attention to their driving would be a welcome improvement.

Source: My Modern Met