Overhead shot of urban road with vehicle traffic, skyscraper and many buildings, and green space.

Complete streets

Around the world, cities are growing and urban areas are becoming more densely populated — creating new opportunities and challenges for traffic safety and mobility. 3M is committed to helping city planners and traffic engineers build the safer, more efficient complete streets of the future as we work Toward Zero Deaths on urban roads.

Designing safer streets: solutions for urban safety and urban mobility

As cities become more densely populated, motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and multimodal transportation users are increasingly asked to share space on roads and sidewalks — resulting in more congestion and potential accidents.

These cost-effective road designs are proven to help calm traffic, reduce conflict points and protect vulnerable road users.

  • Three graphics of protected bike lane, high-visibility intersection and mid-block crossing in busy urban areas.
Cross Walk Markings
Low-angle shot of white painted crosswalk across road.

Help improve visibility, day or night, rain or shine, with retroreflective pavement markings for crosswalks at mid-block crossings.

Crosswalk and Lane Markings
Adult riding bicycle with small child in child seat on urban road near crosswalk.

Enhance safety for motorists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users with high-performance road markings that provide retroreflectivity, night or day, rain or shine.

Retroreflective Traffic Signs
 Sign with letters and symbols reading “State law: Yield to pedestrians in crosswalk.”

Help keep pedestrians safe while alerting drivers to approaching crosswalks with highly visible traffic signs that provide visibility both night and day.

Fluorescent Traffic Signs
Yellow road sign with image of bicycle and words “may use full lane.”

Keep traffic flowing and help improve urban safety by clearly communicating bike lanes and other traffic messages with bright fluorescent traffic signs.

Symbols and Legends
Large left-turn arrow on pavement in road’s turn lane.

Help cyclists safely navigate bike lanes and follow rules of the road with the use of retroreflective road markings.

Fluorescent Traffic Light Back Plate
Highly visible stoplight against blue sky.

Increase safety in intersections with the added visibility of fluorescent retroreflective sheeting on traffic lights. This helps make them more conspicuous in a range of conditions, including at dawn, dusk and night.

Designated Mobility Hub
Colorful painted pavement for scooter parking on urban road, with scooters and person holding handlebars of scooter.

Help reduce conflict points and clutter by designating bus stops, pedestrian zones at crosswalks, scooter zones, vehicle parking zones and bike boxes with retroreflective signs and road markings.

Lane Marking and Sharrows
Clearly marked bike lanes with pavement markings in green, white and yellow.

Help bicyclists safely navigate bike lanes and make cyclists more visible to all road users with the use of retroreflective markings.

Flexible Reflective Sheeting for Channelizers
Row of bike lane signs identifying protected bike lane.

Help motorists see these important visual cues to improve safety with high-visibility retroreflective sheeting on bike lane delineators.

Fluorescent Traffic Signs
Yellow and black signs with image of pedestrian and words “next 1000 feet.”

Alert drivers to upcoming intersections and crosswalks with the use of retroreflective fluorescent signs for increased reaction time.

  • Increased bike travel offers significant benefits in urban areas, including reduced congestion and better overall health. However, riding a bike in congested urban areas can be hazardous for cyclists. Protected bicycle lanes provide safe, designated space for cyclists and other micromobility users.

    See bike lane applications

  • Intersections present a variety of distractions and hazards for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, over 50% of fatal and injury crashes happen at or near intersections. Designing more forgiving, more visible intersections can help reduce traffic collisions and save lives.

    See intersection applications

  • Almost 3 out of 4 pedestrian fatalities happen when people try to cross the street mid-block, instead of at intersections. In these areas, motorists are travelling faster and are less aware of pedestrians in the road. Highly visible mid-block crossings help protect vulnerable road users in these high-risk areas.

    See mid-block crossings applications

Building safer roads for urban growth in populated cities

  • The growing global trend toward urbanization offers significant benefits for citizens, but it also presents challenges for traffic safety and mobility. Learn more about the traffic management issues related to growing urban centers, new approaches to urban mobility and recommendations for designing and building complete streets in urban areas.

    Read more about building safer roads for urban growth

  • Graphic of urban road with bicycle rider in protected bike lane, cars in driving lanes and pedestrian on sidewalk.
    Watch the video to experience urban street design

    View the City Limits video above where you will see how urban planning can help improve safety and mobility.

Safety initiatives and federal funding options for urban areas

  • The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) promotes infrastructure solutions and strategies to design and build safer roads, including roundabouts, road curve designs, backplates with retroreflective borders, medians and pedestrian crossing islands and more.

    Over the years, many urban roads have expanded from two to four lanes to accommodate increasing vehicle traffic. These wider multilane roads create significant safety hazards for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

    A road diet is an FHWA proven safety countermeasure that recommends removing lanes from multilane roads and using that space for other purposes, including protected bike lanes and curb extensions.

    See the countermeasures & 3M solutions

  • To improve traffic safety and mobility in urban areas, it’s essential that we start designing and building more intuitive, more forgiving roads for all users. But traffic infrastructure projects need funding to get off the ground. Fortunately, a variety of federal and local government programs and grants can help you build the complete streets of the future.

    Learn more about funding your project

Traffic safety products to improve urban safety

For more than 80 years, 3M has engineered traffic safety products that are more visible in a wider range of conditions, more rugged to withstand challenging environments and more versatile to improve road safety in your city infrastructure.

  • Our retroreflective sheeting for traffic signs and delineators improves visibility and recognition at greater distances. Available in fluorescent colors and ultra-high performance ASTM Type XI materials.

  • Delineators and barriers provide guidance for motorists along with both visual and physical protection for pedestrians and cyclists. Our highly reflective sheeting can help road users see these traffic safety devices in a range of conditions.

  • Our high-performance markings — including wet retroreflective pavement markings and high-visibility symbols and legends tapes — help communicate important navigational information and guidance to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Conspicuity tape on large vehicles, buses and trucks is a proven, cost-effective way to improve the visibility of these vehicles, helping to prevent crashes. Added to bikes, scooters and motorcycles conspicuity markings help increase the visibility of these vulnerable road users. To be most effective, conspicuity tapes need to be highly retroreflective at wide angles for nighttime visibility.

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