Can New Technologies Make Crosswalks Safer?

Kelly Smith looks at a host of technologies - from thermoplastics to video sensing systems - that local leaders in Minnesota are hoping can make crosswalks safer for pedestrians amid rising incidences of fatalities.

More bikers and walkers on the streets of Minnesota's cities are conspiring to make 2012 the state's deadliest year for pedestrians in the last five. As a result, cities across the state are experimenting with ways to reduce pedestrian and vehicular accidents at intersections.

"'In the last three to five years, there's been a tremendous amount of work done on crosswalk safety,' said Wayne Houle, Edina's engineering director, adding it's spurred by more bikers and walkers using streets. 'It's the trend of people getting out of their cars and walking and biking ... they're kind of demanding it.'"

Some, however, question if some of the new technologies are truly effective in improving safety. "'Right now, they're new and different and eye-catching,' said Sue Groth, state traffic engineer [of pavement marking technology]. 'But are the motorists going to be looking at the pavement markings and not at pedestrians? Are they more effective is the question that needs to be answered.'"

 

Full Story: Minnesota cities upgrade to address crosswalk danger

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