The new normal: social distancing

Social distancing in cities

Article cover "The new normal: social distancing in cities"

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29 August 2020

We found it very interesting and we propose 3M’s guide on the analysis and measures useful to contain the infections of Covid-19.
Beyond their products it can be useful for reflecting, reasoning and finding new solutions to contain the Pandemic.

Our contribution to having safe families, active people and businesses open after the lock down.

Bringing families home safely
The new requirements for social distancing have created sudden and unexpected challenges in relation to layout and viability in cities. In the streets, schools, shops and restaurants, monuments, parks and beaches, keeping a safe distance has become vital to limit the spread of the virus and to keep cities from stopping.

With data on fluctuating infections and the risk of new virus outbreaks developing in cities, some flexible solutions to maintain social distancing could help authorities quickly adapt places and environments so that citizens can be provided with correct and up-to-date information. following the many changes in the rules to be respected.

This guide uses illustrations to look at certain areas of the city where social distancing rules are essential and to show how some 3M road safety solutions can offer more benefits than traditional solutions.

Road areas

With more people using the streets and sidewalks, unclear signs and directions can make it more difficult to maintain social distances. Pedestrians and cyclists use the space normally used by cars more often: making these areas safe for the most vulnerable users can be a challenge.

The new normal: social distancing. Road areas

It must also be considered that:

»  Many more people are cycling to avoid public transport
»  Some cycle paths are not suitable for hosting a greater number of users
»  Pedestrians are also forced to use part of the roadway to maintain correct social distances
»  Cars travel faster in low traffic
»  The queues for shops can extend to parking areas and the carriageway

Create traffic control schemes using road safety materials and devices already familiar to drivers and clearly visible in all conditions both day and night.
3M’s range of flexible solutions can help people to move around the city always safely even in very changing circumstances.

That include:

»  The creation of temporary cycle paths
»  Changing the size of roads and crossing points
»  The creation of new signals for the management of the passage of people, bicycles and vehicles
»  The implementation of measures to slow down traffic
»  The closure of some roads to traffic to allow the passage of pedestrians
»  The use of customized floor graphics for queue management


With buses, cars and people arriving and departing at the same time, schools can be one of the most difficult places in which to maintain social distancing if clear and durable reporting is not implemented.

The new normal: social distancing. Schools

It should also be considered:

»  The impact that a line of people in front of the school could have on the movement of pedestrians and cyclists
»  The management of the transit of students and parents
»  Support for people so that safety distances are maintained while waiting in line
»  Information on parking, routes, entrances and exits

The creation of a safe system for managing the movement of people throughout the school area by providing clear information through lasting solutions to help students, teachers and parents to maintain proper social distancing.

Which includes:

»  Temporary cycle paths for cyclists
»  Enlargement and extension of the spaces dedicated to pedestrians
»  Increase of specific signs for pedestrians and bicycles
»  Temporary closure of some streets to create more space for pedestrians at rush hour
»  Custom graphics for queue management

Shops and restaurants

Social distancing has transformed the experience of shopping and eating in restaurants given the need to manage the space available and the transit of people.

Social distancing in shops and restaurants

The need to:

»  Use custom graphics for queue management
»  Support people to keep the correct distance when they are waiting to be served in a shop or to sit at their table in a restaurant
»  Manage the transit of customers in the presence of cars and cyclists
»  Provide correct directions for routes, entrances and exits

Create simple, intuitive and efficient routes for customers and help maintain social distancing while waiting in line with solutions suitable for non-motorized traffic.


»  The correct management of the spaces inside the shops for waiting customers
»  The expansion of space to allow customers to stand in line while maintaining the correct distances
»  The positioning of customized graphics for the management of the transit of people
»  The placement of temporary signs for vehicles and pedestrians
»  The use of customized graphics to manage the transit of people

Mobile centers for virological tests

In many cities, mobile centers have been created that allow people who suspect they have contracted the virus to carry out the test safely.

Mobile centers for virological tests

You have to consider:

»  The correct indications of the routes to reach the mobile centers, entrances and exits
»  Ensure the safety of test personnel working in areas open to car traffic
»  Manage the transit of patients
»  Support for people to keep the correct distance when they are in line waiting for their turn

The solutions
3M Road Sign Solutions can help people navigate the areas around mobile virology testing centers by providing the correct instructions and avoiding confusion.


»  The implementation of temporary reporting systems for managing the transit of people
»  The creation of signs with fluorescent colors so that they are clear and clearly visible
»  The use of signs to maintain the correct safety distances between pedestrians and vehicles


In cities, parks have become extremely important places where people can be outdoors and keep fit. With the increase in the number of people who frequent them, managing social distancing in parks can be complicated.

Social distancing in parks

It is therefore necessary to consider:

»  The management of the space dedicated to those who walk, those who run and those who ride a bicycle
»  The safety of people queuing to access the refreshment areas
»  Support for people to keep the right distances while running or cycling
»  The correct indication of the directions of travel, entrances and exits and the location of the parking lots

The solutions
Helping pedestrians, cyclists and runners to move safely inside the parks and to maintain the correct distances when they are queuing to access the refreshment areas.


»  The creation of signs at entrances and exits and in the avenues within the parks to remind people to keep safe distances
»  The creation of temporary cycle paths
»  Correct Directions for Vehicles and Pedestrians Going to the Park
»  The creation of circulation schemes within the parks using clear signs indicating the directions of travel, entrances and exits


In the summer months, concentrations of people can be created on the beaches and walks along the promenade, putting proper social distancing at risk.

Social distancing on the beaches

It is therefore necessary to consider:

»  Support people walking along the waterfront so that they maintain the correct safety distances
»  Handle pedestrians correctly but also cyclists and cars
»  Provide correct and complete information on routes, entrances and exits from the beaches
»   Better manage the space dedicated to pedestrians, cyclists and people queuing to access shops, bars, restaurants

The solutions
Given the large number of people who concentrate on the beaches in the summer months, it is particularly difficult to maintain the correct social distancing.

Possible Implementations:

»  Transform walkways into one-way lanes by creating directional arrows using adhesive signage tape
»  Use warning signs at the entrance and exit of the beaches that contain information on the measures to be taken for proper social distancing
»  Support tourists and visitors who are not familiar with the area with clearly visible road signs and directions.

Touristic tours

Tourism is gradually recovering and museums and monuments will return to being very popular. It is vitally important to provide visitors with clear and precise information on how to maintain proper social distancing.

Social distancing: tourist routes

It is therefore necessary to consider:

»  Separate the normal movement of pedestrians from tourists queuing to enter museums and monuments
»  Help people maintain proper safety distances while queuing
»  Manage the transit of tourists, cyclists and vehicles in the best possible way
»  Clearly indicate the location of the car parks, directions of travel, entrances and exits

The solutions
Control the flow and movement of visitors and make sure that they feel safe in tourist places by implementing effective and durable measures to maintain social distancing.

Expecting to:

»  Increase the space for pedestrians in the areas around the main entrance of museums and monuments
»  Use floor signs indicating the queue area
»  Create warning signs with customized graphics


From building one-way streets, to dividing space to create cycle paths, 3M offers a range of solutions that allow you to redesign spaces to create new ones where people can walk, cycle and queue safely. 3M Road Sign Solutions Include:

»  Products for temporary and permanent road markings including tapes to create new traffic lanes
»  Printable and customizable floor graphics films for maintaining correct distances and marking routes
»  Films for the realization of road signs to provide clearly visible indications both during the day and at night
»  Solutions for traffic slowdown
»  Area marking panels made with 3M ™ Diamond Grade ™ films laminated to an aluminum backing
»  Fluorescent sign films suitable for signage in school areas

To receive more information on the solutions presented in this brochure, please contact:
[email protected]

Important Notice
All statements, technical data and recommendations contained in this document are based on evidence believed to be reliable or on 3M’s experience. However, there are numerous factors that are beyond 3M’s control and that may affect the use and performance of a 3M product in certain applications, such as the conditions and duration of use and environmental characteristics that form the context for the use of the product. Since these factors are known exclusively to the end user, who is therefore the only one able to control them, it is essential that they evaluate the 3M product to determine whether it is suitable for a particular purpose and suitable for the chosen methodology or application. Any dispute relating to the liability of this product will be governed by the conditions of sale where applicable to the prevailing legislation. 3M disclaims any direct or consequential liability for loss or damage resulting from incorrect use of the product.
This information is current as of the issue date of this document. we recommend contacting local authorities for the most up-to-date information and guidelines regarding safety and social distancing regulations.

Source: 3M The New Normal – Social Distancing in Cities Guide IT

related cad block categories

Nursery school - kindergartens

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Retail - Shopping Centre

Infrastructure - Transport

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Parks and Gardens

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