Colourful crosswalks are promoting safer crossings
First publishedin World Highways
Schreuders Infra handiwork with DecoMark in Rotterdam
Safety remains paramount but crosswalks can also be colourful and fun
The increasing popularity of colourful crosswalks is exercising the creativity of municipalities around Europe. An example is the use of DecoMark preformed thermoplastic markings in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The art collective Opperclaes, working with urbanism agency Street Makers, designed an artwork-style crosswalk on the Westblaak area of Rotterdam. The Westblaak is a busy street in the city centre and connects Churchill Square with the Eendrachtsplein. The street has a wide pedestrian middle area that includes a skate park and which is used as a meeting place. Because it is a people-place, good crosswalks are essential for public safety.
For the project, Schreuders Infra, a road marking and street furniture specialist, applied the preformed thermoplastic markings. The company has extensive experience in applying all kinds of paint and surfaces, including cold plastic as well as making asphalt repairs and lining for roads, parking garages, parking lots and electric charging points.
The attraction for such innovative and creative pedestrian crossings is not just the fun aspect for children. These interesting cross walks get their attention, meaning they are more alert to the fact that the pedestrian area is where they should cross the Westblaak’s busy road. Images abound on the crosswalk, as well as words such as, “Stand straight and walk proud”.
Geveko Markings paints a pretty picture on the Westblaak
Public response to the crosswalks has been very positive and the Rotterdam city officials are conducting research on their use with an eye to creating similar pedestrian crossings in other traffic intensive parts of the city.
Creative and decorative crosswalks have also been made with preformed thermoplastic in the Bankside area of central London. In Zaandam in the Netherlands, authorities used PlastiRoute cold plastic from Geveko
Markings to create rainbow-crosswalks to set a statement for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) community.
In London, Evonik says that the winner of its global Road Safety Award will be announced in August, followed by an award ceremony at a global or regional road safety event at the end of this year.
Applications for this, the second year of the Evonik Road Safety Award, closed at the end of May. The award acknowledges and rewards the contributions to road safety of public authorities worldwide.
The prize is €10,000 in the form of a sponsored road marking application, a donation of traffic safety related items, or a donation to a non-profit organisation. It is bestowed by Evonik upon identification of the winner by an independent jury of internationally recognised experts in the field of road safety, transport and city design.
The Evonik Road Safety Award is designed to support sustainable road safety initiatives. Key criteria for the winning project/initiative are its contribution to road safety (60%), sustainability (20%), innovation (10%) and replicability (10%).
Evonik's winner - a well-marked crossing saving the lives of school children in Thailand
A Project Candidate can be any completed infrastructure initiative which includes some form of road marking with at least a one-year track record. Qualified applicants are public authorities from a city, state, national or regional level, responsible for such an initiative.
The jury consists of Adnan Rahman and Susanna Zammataro at the International Road Federation Rahmann is general director and senior transportation consultant at the IRF, while Zammataro is executive director and environment expert.
The two academic jurists are Markus Oeser and Paul Carlson. Oeser is head of the Chair-Professor for Pavement Engineering & Director of the Institute for Pavement Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Carlson is senior research engineer and division head at Texas A&M Transportation Institute in the US.
Last year’s winner was Thailand’s Department of Rural Roads for a comprehensive safety initiative around schools, especially in rural areas. A pilot project was set up at Nonthaburi province in 2013. It identified speed reduction and visual communication as two key ways to create awareness.
Thai authorities installed edge lines, coloured anti-skid rumble stripes and pedestrian crossings based on MMA cold plastic road markings. Since being installed, they have recorded zero accidents and the MMA cold plastic-based road markings remain durable and functional, even after three years, with no maintenance required.
Second place was for Chongqing Municipal Government Traffic Department’s School Zone Caring Colour Zebra crossing project. The Chinese city launched the project in late 2012. The four crossings are red and white anti-slip crossings covering an 400m² in front of schools in Chongqing city. The crossings not only provide visual awareness to drivers, but also guide students. Observation statistics showed that the rate of road accidents is reduced more than 50% after using a coloured zebra crossing.