High-Visibility Intersection

  • Intersections in urban areas are full of distractions and potential collision points between motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and people using new modes of transportation like scooters and mopeds. Raising the visibility of intersections and designating safe zones for vulnerable road users can help reduce accidents and save lives.

High-angle shot of urban intersection with pedestrians, crosswalks, protected bike lanes and car entering frame.
Increase the visibility of intersections to improve urban safety and mobility.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), over 50% of fatal and injury crashes happen at or near an intersection.

Solutions for Improving the Visibility of Intersections

Easy-to-implement, effective, low-cost solutions can improve the visibility of intersections in urban areas. By designing complete streets that are forgiving and intuitive for everyone sharing the roads, we can help reduce conflict points, prevent wrong way driving and collisions, and improve urban safety.

  • Urban intersection with crosswalks, protected bike lanes and two pedestrians on sidewalk.
    Curb Extensions

    Extended curbs or curb bump outs marked by high-visibility pavement markings, signs and delineators can help calm traffic and designate safe zones for pedestrians and cyclists to wait to cross the road, protected from motor vehicle traffic.

  • Adult riding bicycle with small child in child seat on urban road near crosswalk.
    Pedestrian Crossings

    Highly visible crosswalks marked with pavement markings and retroreflective signs alert pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to designated pedestrian crossing areas and help give drivers enough time to react to pedestrians in the road.

  • Line of orange bollards with white reflective tape to distinguish protected lane on road.
    Divided Traffic Lanes

    Channelizers that divide lanes or designate left turn lanes can help reduce conflict points between vehicles at intersections. Add highly visible retroreflective sheeting to channelizers to help drivers see them in a range of conditions, including at night or in the rain.

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

    Designating bus stops, pedestrian zones at crosswalks, scooter zones, vehicle parking zones, bike boxes, etc., can help reduce conflict points at intersections. High-visibility markings, symbols and legends on the sidewalk or road, retroreflective traffic signs and channelizers can all provide visual cues and help increase the safety of these zones.

The Problem with Intersections: The Conflict Points Add Up

Any time two paths cross — like a pedestrian crossing the street as a vehicle approaches — there’s a potential point of conflict. With vehicles traveling multiple different directions, vehicles turning left and right, varying intersection angles, cyclists and vehicles sharing turn lanes, pedestrians trying to cross the street and buses stopping for passengers, a typical intersection has 32 potential conflict points.

  • Crowded crosswalk in urban area with car waiting at stoplight.

    Building Safer Roads in Growing Urban Areas

    In 2018, about 4.2 billion people lived in urban areas around the world. That number is expected to grow by an additional 2.5 billion by 2050. This rapid rise in urbanization has many benefits, but it also comes with challenges for city planners and transportation engineers working to promote safe, accessible, efficient transportation in their cities. Learn more about the steps you can take to improve safety and mobility on urban roads.

Graphic of urban intersection with pedestrians, bicyclist and vehicles using crosswalk, protected bike lane and road.
Helping You Design More Visible Intersections

City Limits

If you are a City Traffic Engineer, City Planner or consulting firm helping to design safer cities and would like to experience the City Limits video in a richer viewing environment you can request a 360⁰ handheld viewer or download our full virtual reality experience to use on an Oculus Quest headset.

Traffic Safety Products for High-Visibility Intersections

3M traffic safety devices are engineered to be highly visible, more rugged and more versatile for a range of applications on your urban roads.

  • Highly visible pavement markings, including crosswalk and lane dividing line, at night.
    Pavement Markings

    Increase the visibility of lanes, crosswalks and designated zones in urban areas with high-performing and long-lasting wet retroreflective pavement markings and raised markers. Markings with skid particles can help improve traction for pedestrians and vehicles, particularly when it’s wet and rainy.

    3M™ Stamark™ High Performance Pavement Marking Tape Series 380AW

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

    High-visibility pavement marking for on-road symbols and legends. Clearly mark stop bars, crosswalks, bike lanes, turn lanes and channelizing lines to help drivers, pedestriansand cyclists safely navigate urban intersections.

    3M™ Stamark™ Pavement Marking Tape Symbols & Legends 270 Series

    3M™ Stamark™ Tape MPH Legend SMS

  • Highly visible stoplight against blue sky.
    Reflective Sheeting and Protective Films

    Reflective sheeting for traffic signs (both horizontal signage and vertical signage) and channelizers. Available in a range of materials and colors — including ASTM Type XI which offers our highest level of visibility and fluorescent colors for superior visibility at greater distances.

    Learn more about traffic signs.

Looking for help designing and building safer urban roads?

Our experts are here to show you cost-effective, easy-to-apply traffic infrastructure solutions that can help you improve traffic safety and mobility.