States test new lane markings to increase pedestrian safety

Posted in: Bridges, Transportation

zigzag_body-300x200Pedestrian safety is always a concern on busy city roadways. Crosswalks and signage are used to alert motorists to a pedestrian-heavy area, but sometimes these measures go unnoticed. Over the past few years, a growing number of state Departments of Transportation have adopted a new traffic calming strategy: zig-zag lanes.

Zig-zag lanes have been used in Europe for years. As many European cities have thousands of pedestrians, they have discovered that zig-zag pavement markings helped slow vehicle traffic down, creating a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

Washington is the newest state to adopt this strategy. Painting roads with white zig-zag stripes informed drivers that they are approaching a crosswalk, giving them a strong visual cue to slow down. Other states to use this strategy are Virginia and Hawaii. VDOT conducted a one-year study and found that the zig-zag lanes heightened the awareness of any approaching motorists.

DOTs and motorists alike attest to these lanes’ effectiveness, making them a viable option for cities and towns with multi-use roads. Engineers in Washington say that the lanes cost around $2,000 to install and require little maintenance.

For departments looking to increase pedestrian safety without redesigning an intersection, zig-zag lanes may be a cost-effective solution. What do you think? Are zig-zag lanes the answer? I’d love to hear from you.

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