Fourth graders advocate for optical illusion crosswalks to help reduce accidents

10-year-old advocates for 3D crosswalks

In our series, A More Perfect Union, we aim to show that what unites us as Americans is far greater than what divides us. In this installment, we take you to the streets of Medford, Massachusetts, where a plan to improve driver safety with an optical illusion could potentially save lives.


Drivers on the road can often be dangerously distracted.

"I've seen people just speed past stop signs, speed past crosswalks, and people are, like, could get really injured," said 10-year-old Isa. So she and her classmate, Eric, came up with a plan just outside their school that would make drivers look twice.

"It is an illusion painted on the ground to look like actual object," Isa said. 

The idea came from a close call Eric's brother had when he was crossing the street, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers. Through their research, they found illusions are a worldwide trend, with 3D crosswalks popping up in places like Iceland, Germany and China.

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10-year-old Isa says optical illusion crosswalks could help reduce accidents. CBS News

It comes at a time the number of accidents in the U.S. involving pedestrians is rising. In 2017, more than 193,000 pedestrians were injured in crashes.

The fourth graders turned to Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke who now hopes to take the idea to every school in the district.

"Books don't teach you this. Civic engagement is something that you just, you see happen, you see success, and then you try to emulate it and do more," Burke said.

Isa is part of the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility, an organization that encourages young people to get involved in the community.

"This is a great example of them sticking to an idea and going through all the steps and talking, in this case, to all the adults and the powers that be," said Mike Coates, adviser for the Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility.

While it took a year to get the green light, Isa is hoping to get these 3D walkways on roads everywhere.

"Hope it works!" she said, crossing her fingers.

Watch more from A More Perfect Union: