Optical Illusion Zebra Crossings Are Appearing In India


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

240 Optical Illusion Zebra Crossings Are Appearing In India
One of the four new optical illusions appearing on India's roads. Nitin Gadkari via Twitter

How do you slow down a car without using speed bumps? Assuming you haven’t got access to some sort of powerful magnetic device or your own superpowers, the answer may be to use some extremely clever artists.

3D street art is becoming increasingly commonplace these days, but it takes an incredible artist to produce. Normally it’s made for purely aesthetic reasons, but every now and then, there’s a plan behind the painting.


With this in mind, artists Saumya Pandya Thakkar and Shakuntala Pandya of Ahmedabad, India have recently taken to social media to share their latest creations: optical illusions that look very much like zebra crossings. The hope is to use them to reduce the speed of vehicles in population-dense areas.



India’s minister for road transport shows off one of the new fake crossings.


Their effort follows other similar attempts around the world to give drivers literal pauses for thought. Although effective in the short term, the drivers soon realize that the wool is being pulled over their eyes, and they promptly begin to ignore the not-quite-there crossings.

One study, sadly, reveals that even regular zebra crossings actually only work 5 percent of the time. The unfortunate implications of this finding is that people who think they can use these illusory crossings safely are perhaps more likely to be hit by a driver dismissing these crossings as non-existent.

However, in this case, the four pseudo-crossings in Ahmedabad – whose installations were backed by India’s minister of road transport – appear to be working several months later. Only time will tell if drivers come to accept the illusion or rebel against it.


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  • zebra crossings,

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