Aarhus to introduce ‘floating’ 3D pedestrian crossings

Aarhus to introduce 'floating' 3D pedestrian crossings
An illustration of Aarhus' planned 3D pedestrian crossings. Photo: Aarhus Kommune
Denmark’s second-largest city Aarhus is to introduce optical illusions at three different pedestrian crossings in a trial it hopes will encourage drivers and cyclists to give way to foot traffic.

The pedestrian crossings will be repainted to make them appear as 3D images with the white lines floating above the ground, Aarhus Municipality said in a statement on its website.

Making the crossing stand out in such a striking way will encourage drivers and cyclists to stop at them and allow pedestrians to cross, the municipality hopes.

Danish traffic laws state that motorists approaching pedestrian crossings (that aren’t regulated by traffic lights) must “adapt their speed in such a way that no danger or disadvantage occurs for pedestrians who are on the crossing or approaching it” and that drivers “must stop to let the pedestrians pass, if necessary”.

In practice (and this is an anecdotal observation based on years of residence in the country), motorists in Denmark normally drive over such crossings when pedestrians are clearly waiting to use them, because they are technically not required to stop unless the pedestrian is actually on the crossing.

READ ALSO: Why don’t Danish drivers stop at pedestrian crossings?

The new ‘3D’ crossings in Aarhus, which will be in place on an initial trial scheme until May 2024, aim to change that, city councillor Bünyamin Simsek said in the municipality statement.

“You don’t have to walk around in Aarhus for long to discover that you can wait for a very long time to cross roads at pedestrian crossings without light regulation,” Simsek said.

“Far too many people simply don’t stop. We will now try a solution with 3D that will get motorists and cyclists to be extra aware at crossings,” he added.

The 3D crossings will use painted shadows under the normal white lines, making the crossing zone look as though it is floating above the ground.

This will make the crossing visible from further away and at different angles, according to the city statement.

Three crossings in Aarhus – two on Mejlgade and one on Knudrisgade – will be given the 3D treatment.

In place on an initial two-and-a-half year trial, the city council’s infrastructure and environment department, on which Simsek sits, will monitor the effect of the crossings and make adjustments to them if this proves to be necessary.

Work on the first of the three crossings is expected to begin in Mejlgade on September 20th, with all three expected to be completed during the autumn.


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