The small fishing town of Ísafjörður, Iceland has become the first European settlement to road test what is potentially the new era of road safety design in the form of a 3D zebra crossing.
The new pedestrian crossing is not a pop-up installation but is simply a very cleverly detailed optical design. In addition to making people crossing the street seem as though they are walking on air, the design is also intended to grab the attention of drivers and to assure that they will slow down as they will immediately assume that there is a 3D object in the road.
The 3D zebra crossing in Iceland is the brain child of the Icelandic environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla who selected the town of Ísafjörður for the trial following clearance from the nearby airport and the police service.
The incredible optical illusion was painted on the road by the street painting company Vegmálun GÍH. Trylla explained that he was keen to try out the idea of a 3D zebra crossing after seeing one in New Delhi in India where the innovative road safety design first originated from. Since the 3D zebra crossings were painted in India, the idea has spread to many countries including South Africa, China and the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.
The 3D zebra crossing is one of the several new methods designed to improve road safety in recent years after it was revealed by a major study that old fashioned speed bumps caused cars to emit higher levels of nitrogen dioxide which is harmful to the environment and also caused unnecessary stress levels to drivers. Other countries have come up with different solutions to dealing with this problem. In Russia, one town employed topless women to hold speed limit signs and reported some degree of success in driving down the speed limit. Whether the 3D zebra crossings will have the same success rate is yet to be seen.