|Photo by Freeimages.com/Eric Gross|
by Cara McGoogan, The Daily Telegraph, April 26, 2016
Pedestrians walking down the street with their eyes glued to their smartphones is a common sight, to the extent that it can become dangerous to cross the road.
The southern German city of Augsburg has installed traffic lights on the pavement so that pedestrians looking down at a smartphone won't miss the indication that it's unsafe to cross.
The city installed the lights two months after a 15-year-old girl was fatally hit by a tram when she walked onto the tracks while looking at her smartphone with headphones in. The lights, which were installed last week, look similar to cats eye road markers, but are flat on the ground and flash red when a tram is approaching.
German city Augsburg introduced traffic lights for smartphone users - they are placed on the street. pic.twitter.com/xWICqY8jtL
— Marius (@mariusmason) April 20, 2016
“It creates a whole new level of attention,” said a spokesman for the city, according to German publication N-TV .
Pedestrian use of smartphones is a common phenomenon across Europe: 17 percent of people on the street use their smartphones in road traffic, according to a survey of six European capitals by DEKRA Accident Research .
“One incident in Stockholm made a particular impression,” said Clemens Klinke, one of the researchers. “A young girl stood in the middle of the road, got her phone out and started texting. It wasn’t until a bus driver sounded his horn that she realised where she was standing.”
Whether or not the lights will help improve road safety in the German town remains to be seen.
“Until now, I didn’t even notice them,” said a pedestrian when asked about the lights, according to Augsburger Allgemeine .
Augsburg is not the first to experiment with safety measures for distracted pedestrians. Chongqing in China installed a 165-foot stretch of pavement with a two lane structure in 2014: one lane for people using their smartphones, the other for normal walkers.
“There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions,” said Nong Cheng, the marketing official, to the Associated Press at the time .
For a round-up of technology news and analysis, sign up to our weekly Tech Briefing here .
READ MORE ABOUT:
This article was written by Cara McGoogan from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.