IN AN Australian first, Boulia, a remote outback town in western Queensland, has installed a 3D zebra crossing.
The optical illusion was painted in an attempt to slow down motorists – hopefully by not slamming on the brakes – but also to pique the interest of tourists.
Photo credit: Instagram/adiehafiza
The idea was sparked when Boulia Shire Council Mayor Rick Britton spotted the crossings on social media, as Malaysia, India, New Zealand and the USA have already implemented similar crossings.
"I saw that other countries had put 3D crossings in to slow the traffic down,” Britton told the ABC. “I thought that'd be a great idea in a little outback town like ours."
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Britton also told the ABC he hoped the “optical illusion” would boost tourism in the town: “If tourists want to drive around and see our town, they’ll see this quirky zebra crossing and it’ll be a conversation piece.”
It should draw in traffic, but will it slow them down?
Photo credit: Instagram/begga
“It will be something very noticeable which can do one of two things: people might become distracted, on the other hand you’re noticing the crossing, so people may slow down,” Dr Mark King, from Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research Road Safety Queensland, told the ABC.
“It is possible it could be distracting, but one of the things that will mitigate that a bit is that you’re looking at the pedestrian crossing, which is where the hazard is likely to lie. So at least if you are drawn by the visual image your eye is drawn in the right direction.”
Boulia, located on the Outback Way, lies on the Burke River, which was named after Robert Burke of Burke and Wills fame, who passed through the area in 1860.
The town has a population of just 600, but many tourers chase an outback dirt pass through the town every year. Boulia is also the gateway to the Diamantina National Park, 1278km west of Brisbane.