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This Town in Iceland Uses Art to Quell Traffic

It's a unique solution to a common issue.


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A small fishing village in northwest Iceland is bringing the meaning of street art to a whole new level—with the intention of keeping motorists safe.

In fall 2017, the town of Ísafjörður installed a 3D zebra crossing in the middle of town to make it easier for motorists to see, so they'd slow down for passing pedestrians. Inspired by a similar design in New Delhi, India, the Icelandic Environmental Commissioner, Ralf Trylla wanted to see if the project would get motorists to slow down and pay attention to others on the road.

“I was looking for other possibilities and different solutions to slow down traffic other than the regular speed bumps,” he said in an interview with Quartz.

The town commissioned the work from street painting company Vegamálun GÍH, and it's become an internet sensation ever since. The installation of the 'motorist art' was installed on a trial basis, but fast forward to a year later and the design is still in place. Not only that, but Trylla explained to Quartz last year that they plan to incorporate more 3D zebra crossings throughout town. With the possibility of creating one for the sole purpose of photo-ops.

But this town isn't the only ones to approach this issue with an artistic eye. Aside from the installation in New Delhi and Ísafjörður, there are similar designs in other cities throughout China, Australia, India, and New Zealand. While some experts argue that the project could actually be a distraction for drivers, others believe that it draws motorists' attention to the area where most accidents happen. Either way, the thoughtful solution is aimed at fixing a serious problem all while maintaining an artistic perspective.


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