12 mind-bending photos of optical illusion crosswalks that trick drivers into slowing down

CHRISTOPH SOEDER/AFP/Getty ImagesA seemingly three-dimensional crosswalk in Germany.

Road traffic injuries remain one of the leading causes of death around the world, according to the World Health Organisation.

Signs and posted speed limits can warn people to drive carefully, but some countries are taking a creative approach to making roads safer by creating crosswalks that appear three-dimensional. Clever placements of lines and shading on streets can look like raised ramps or blocks, tricking drivers into slowing down.

Read more: This trippy 3D footpath art will make you question reality

Here’s how optical illusion crosswalks are helping make roads around the world safer.


A painted crosswalk at St. John’s Wood High Street in Westminster looks like a ramp to oncoming drivers.

Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA 3D crosswalk in Westminster, UK.

Westminster City Council instituted the 3D crosswalk for a year-long trial to see if it would help improve road safety.


The optical illusion works from either direction.

Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesSt John’s Wood High Street in the UK.

Officials hope that the 3D effect will make drivers think they’re about to go over a ramp and slow down.


In Lianyungang, Jiangsu province of China, pedestrians use a crosswalk that appears to rise off the pavement.

Wang Jianmin/VCG via Getty ImagesA street in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province of China.

The pattern uses yellow and blue shading to create the illusion.


The “zebra crossing” appears three-dimensional.

Wang Jianmin/VCG via Getty ImagesA 3D crosswalk in China.

Beijing and Shanghai have also begun implementing the pop-up crosswalks.


A crosswalk in Schmalkalden, Germany, looks like it’s floating in midair.

CHRISTOPH SOEDER/AFP/Getty ImagesA three-dimensional crosswalk in Germany.

The crosswalk is located in the Walperloh district of central Germany.


It was created by graffiti artist Alexander Frank.

CHRISTOPH SOEDER/AFP/Getty ImagesA man walks on the three-dimensional crosswalk.

The lines look like blocks of cement, but it’s just paint.


Isafjordur, Iceland, has a 3D crosswalk, too.

Vegamálun GÍH/YouTubeIsafjordur, Iceland.

The crosswalk was created by Vegamálun GÍH, a road-painting company.


The small fishing town’s narrow residential streets require driving with care.

Vegamálun GÍH/YouTubeThe 3D crosswalk in Iceland viewed from the side.

According to Iceland Magazine, the speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour (18.6 miles per hour) was too fast and required additional measures to slow drivers down.


India was one of the first places to use the optical illusion to slow down drivers.

Mint/YouTubeA crosswalk in Dehli.

India’s union minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, tweeted about the plan to use “virtual speed breakers” in 2016.


The cleverly-designed crosswalks can help reduce traffic accidents.

Ssr Krishna/YouTubeA crosswalk in India.

Business Insider’s Chris Weller wrote that painted 3D crosswalks are a “smart solution because they only require small amounts of money to change people’s actions in major ways.

Read more: India is using optical illusions to slow down dangerous drivers


They have made their way to the US, as well, thanks to two elementary school students.

CBS Boston/YouTubeA 3D crosswalk in Medford, Massachusetts.

Two students at Brooks Elementary School in Medford, Massachusetts, worked with the city’s bureaucracy through an organisation called the Center for Citizenship to create the crosswalk.


“Books don’t teach you this,” Medford’s mayor Stephanie Burke told CBS Boston of the students’ efforts.

CBS Boston/YouTubeA 3D crosswalk in front of a Medford elementary school.

“Civic engagement is just something you see happen, you see success, and then you try to emulate it and do more,” she said.

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