Who needs a speed bump when street art will do the trick? A number of cities around the around the world are using an optical illusion to trick drivers into thinking there’s an obstacle in the road to slow down traffic. In reality, it’s just a crosswalk that’s been painted to appear like a 3-D roadblock.
The latest example of this mind-bending pedestrian crossing can be found in the tiny town of Ísafjörður, Iceland, where it was commissioned by environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla. He was inspired by a similar project in New Delhi, India, according to Bored Panda.
The stripes, sometimes called a zebra crossing, appear to be floating in midair, like white blocks hovering above the street. Viewed from above, the painting looks like a row of levitating walls. The unexpected artwork was created by street painting company Vegmálun GÍH.
The hope is that the optical illusion will do its part in reducing the number of car accidents and pedestrian fatalities. Distracted drivers are a well-documented danger. With a 3-D crosswalk looming up ahead, they may be forced to pay more attention.
Other cities have taken similar approaches. In Ahmedabad, India, artists Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya designed a 3-D crosswalk of their own, while a Reddit user found one in Kyrgyzstan.
“It is so magical! 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,” a driver told Rednet of a 3-D crosswalk in Xingsha, China.
According to My Modern Met, Ísafjörður is viewing its version as a trial, testing out the illusion in the hopes of expanding the project to additional crossings should it prove effective in improving road safety.
Watch a video of the optical illusion in action, plus more photos of the Icelandic crosswalk:
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