The 3-D Zebra Crossings That Are Making India's Roads Safer For Pedestrians

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3-D Zebra crossings create a clever illusion ( Photo Credit: Saumya Pandya Thakkar/ Shakuntala Pandya via Wired)

Zebra crossings — the alternating dark and light stripes on the road surface — are meant to alert drivers that pedestrians may be trying to get across. Unfortunately, they are not very effective. A 1998 study done by the Department of Traffic Planning and Engineering at Sweden’s Lund University, revealed that three out of four drivers maintained the same speed or even accelerated as they were approaching a crossing. Even worse? Only 5% stopped even when they saw someone trying to get across. Now a mother-daughter team in Ahmedabad, India have devised a clever way to get drivers to pay more attention — A zebra crossing with an optical illusion.

Artists Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya were commissioned to paint the crosswalks by IL&FS, an Indian company that manages the highways in Ahmedabad. The corporation was looking for an innovative solution to help the city’s residents to cross the busy accident-prone roads safely. Thakkar and Pandya, who had previously seen images of 3-dimensional zebra crossings that gave drivers the illusion of logs of wood on the streets in Taizhou, China, decided to test if a similar tactic would work in India.

Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya beside their painting (Photo Credit: Fastcoexist)

Sure enough, in the six months that the 3-D crosswalks have been painted across four of the city’s most dangerous highways, there have been no accidents reported! The artists say that while it may appear that the zebra-crossing could cause the drivers to brake suddenly and endanger the vehicles behind, such is not the case. Because of the way the human eye works, the illusion is only visible from a distance. As they get closer, the painting looks just like any other conventional zebra crossing. But since the driver is driving slower, he/she is more likely to stop. The creators hope that their smart design will become increasingly common throughout India and perhaps even the world.

Resources: Fastcoexist.com,wired.com

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205 Comments
  • astromochi
    astromochiover 1 year
    Wo didn't this happen in New York?
    • simpl3y_v01d
      simpl3y_v01dover 1 year
      nice this is a great idea to stop accident from happening ❤️^﹏^
      • animereina2021
        animereina2021over 2 years
        I love illusions like these! Especially when the technique is used for something important💕 They should do this in America!
        • That guy about 3 years
          Anyone else gotta do this for school
        • BananaBoiYTabout 3 years
          looks cool
          • Face; the musicover 3 years
            not cool ?
            • Anoymous 1over 3 years
              That is a very nice concept.
              • Alyover 3 years
                They should do this everywhere!! IN ALL 7 CONTINENTS!!!!!!
                • ?almost 4 years
                  Pls do dis in Pakistan 🇵🇰
                  • Joealmost 4 years
                    nice