Tue, Mar 19, 2019 - Page 4 News List

3D road markings proving ineffective

OKAY FOR TAOYUAN:While Taipei and Nantou plan to cover up the designs, Taoyuan has found them helpful in areas around schools. It also likes the ‘zipper’ crosswalks

By Huang Chien-hao, Liu Pin-chuan and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A pedestrian uses a 3D crosswalk at the intersection of Hsinpu 6th and Tongde 5th streets in Taoyuan’s Taoyuan Distict on Jan. 9.

Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times

A trial run of 3D road markings proved ineffective in slowing down drivers, and so their use might be discontinued, the Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office said on Sunday.

The markings have been used in some areas of the nation for about two years, but drivers have stopped paying attention to them and many no longer slow down for them, the office said.

Taipei was one of the late joiners to the trial program, putting some on Zhongxiao E Road Sec 5 in March last year, after city officials studied traffic-management measures in Iceland, India and several other countries.

The city found that the rate of drivers braking as they came to road crossings rose only slightly, from 80 percent of the time with the old markings to 85 percent with the 3D markings, before returning to 80 percent several weeks after the 3D markings were installed, the office said.

A survey of drivers found that half admitted they would not take any special action when encountering 3D markings, and would be unlikely to slow down, it said.

Given the ineffectiveness of the 3D markings, they would be painted over, with the original markings restored, within the next few months, the office said.

Nantou City introduced 3D markings on Huayang and Zucih roads in 2016, but while drivers slowed down initially, once the novelty wore off drivers resumed their old habits, the Nantou County Public Works Department said.

As the markings proved ineffective, the city would not expand their use, and the existing markings would disappear after future road work on the two roads, the department said.

The Taoyuan Department of Transportation also began using 3D markings — some in bright colors — in 2016 in areas with schools or heavy pedestrian traffic, and it said it was still analyzing their effectiveness.

The special markings used in school areas, where white lines are painted over a green crossing, have received a positive response from teachers and parents, who say they are effective in getting drivers to stop, so the city would continue to use such markings in school areas, department Director Liu Ching-feng (劉慶豐) said.

It also began using “zipper style” crosswalks last year in Zhongshan District (中山), which are crosswalks divided down the middle with the white lines skewed, designed to separate foot traffic moving in each direction, with arrows telling pedestrians which side they should be walking on, Liu said.

They are designed to boost the efficiency of crosswalks, Liu said.

Additional reporting by Wei Chin-yun

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