If you’re an NYC local, you may have noticed a big change over the past few years. There was a time when most crosswalks in the city were two white lines forming a path from curb to curb. Now, nearly every crosswalk in the city has been repainted with those distinctive zebra stripes. But what explains this change, and was it really worth repainting every crosswalk?

A Case of the Stripes

Traffic engineers have long studied ways to improve visibility at the crosswalk without disrupting the flow of traffic. After testing many different kinds of crosswalk designs, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) discovered that zebra-striped crosswalks were significantly more effective at causing the majority of drivers to identify pedestrian crossings both during the day and at night.

The results of the FHA’s tests were so conclusive that they advised these zebra-striped crosswalks to become the standard crosswalk style nationwide. As NYC looked at ways to reduce pedestrian injuries through the Vision Zero initiative, it only made sense that they would develop a plan to repaint every crosswalk in the city. After all, each crosswalk repainted potentially improves visibility and prevents a serious accident.

Does Color Matter?

In most places, a yellow crosswalk indicates a school zone and acts as a reminder for drivers to slow down. The bright yellow markings are supposed to improve visibility and make it easier to identify pedestrian crossings. However, FHA research suggests “little evidence” that these differently colored crosswalks make a difference in improving visibility or reducing crashes.

That isn’t to say that yellow crosswalks are useless. They still serve as an important reminder that drivers are entering a school zone. However, the fact that yellow crosswalks aren’t proven to be safer than the alternative suggests that traffic engineers may need to continue researching the most effective ways to keep pedestrians safe when crossing the street.

If you or someone you love were involved in a pedestrian accident, you need affordable representation from a team you can trust. If you’d like an experienced New York City injury accident attorney from Koenigsberg & Associates Law Offices to evaluate your case, don’t hesitate to call us at (718) 690-3132 or send us an email.