Image for ‘Asphalt art’ is making roads safer – and could be coming to a city near you

‘Asphalt art’ is making roads safer – and could be coming to a city near you

Crashes involving pedestrians were found to have halved at junctions painted with murals. Now, more colourful artworks are being planned for other intersections

Crashes involving pedestrians were found to have halved at junctions painted with murals. Now, more colourful artworks are being planned for other intersections

Street art is bringing more than just a feelgood boost to drab city centre junctions – it is saving lives, too.

In Kansas City, US, a “daunting and dangerous” intersection is one of many that have been transformed with murals painted directly onto tarmac.

Average speeds at the junction were slashed by almost half and the percentage of pedestrians who reported feeling “very safe” at the intersection jumped from 23 per cent to 63 per cent. 

A study of accident statistics at 22 asphalt art sites found that crashes involving pedestrians and other vulnerable road users were cut by 50 per cent, while accidents causing injury reduced by over a third.

The research was carried out by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of its Asphalt Art Initiative, which funds art projects transforming roads, pedestrian spaces and public infrastructure. 

Janette Sadik-Khan, principal for transportation at Bloomberg, said: “This kind of information gives mayors, community members and national policy makers the evidence needed to show that not only will these projects do no harm, but they actually prevent harm from happening in the first place.”

Buoyed by the success of pilot projects, more cities are embracing asphalt art. Image: Adam Vogler

Bloomberg’s scheme has backed over 40 projects in the US and three in Europe with a further round of European grantees set to be announced next year.

In Glasgow, Scottish artist Gabriella Marcella used vibrant murals to breathe new life into the entrance to Anderson station.

Meanwhile in London, British- Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori was let loose on pedestrian crossings on Tottenham Court Road for the capital’s Design Festival, reimagining them with playful designs in dazzling colours.

Main image: James Brosher

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