Aerial night time view of a section of a metropolitan city that includes a sports stadium surrounded by many streets and urban buildings .

Urban Safety and Mobility

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 (English only) on urban roads.


Examples of Urban Safety


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 Signs
Bright yellow reflective sign indicating bikes have full lane use.

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

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 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
Dozens of scooters lined up and parked in a dedicated spot using fun, colourful road markings.

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

Crosswalk and Lane Markings
Low-angle shot of white painted crosswalk across road.

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

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.

Retroreflective Traffic Signs
Bright yellow  retroflective traffic sign telling motorists and bikers that pedestrians have the right away and should be yielded to.

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
Highly flourescent and visible pedestrian cross walk sign viewed from a distance with a car approaching.

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

Lane Marking and Sharrows
Biker on a dedicated bike lane painted green in a busy urban city marked with a sharrow.

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

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.¹

  • 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.² Designing more forgiving, more visible intersections can help reduce traffic collisions and save lives.

  • 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.

  • Almost 3 out of 4 pedestrian fatalities happen when people try to cross the street mid-block, instead of at intersections.³ 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.


Computer generated example of an urban street design that includes lanes for cars as well as protected bike lanes.
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FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures

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.


Explore FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures (US, English only)

  • Stacked road signs depicting driving and turn lanes, center lane, and prohibited parallel driving.

    Put Your Roads on a Diet to Improve Traffic Safety

    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.⁴

     


See the proven countermeasures.

Recommendations from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities in urban areas.


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 help 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 colours 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 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.


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.

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