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26th Apr 2016

City installs traffic lights in the ground for people glued to their smartphones

Don't. Look. Down.

Jordan Gold

We’re all phone-addicted zombies sometimes, but this is extreme.

In a dramatic bid to curb the number of deaths by traffic accident each year, one German city has decided to shove a solution right under people’s noses. Literally.

Stadtwerke Augsburg has installed sets of ground lights at two tram stops especially for distracted mobile users.



via YouTube/Augsburger Allgemeine

The new initiative began when a young girl was struck by the local tram whilst looking at her phone.

The lights only flash one colour – red – when the tram is approaching.

via YouTube/Augsburger Allgemeine

You can watch a video about the plan here (if you have decent German, that is).

This isn’t the first urban initiative to try to protect “phone zombies” from themselves (as well as on-coming traffic). A few years ago, the Chinese city of Chongqing created a 100ft-stretch of pavement, with a lane specially painted for people who have their eyes cast down at their phone screens.

Phone addiction seems to be of growing concern at officialdom level. Earlier this year, the UK’s former security minister Baroness Neville-Jones told BBC Radio 4 she was “alarmed” by the number of people who spend their time in public looking at their phones – instead of being more alert to the risk of a potential terrorist attack on transport or in crowded areas.

She said:

“I think being alert is very important. I am alarmed by the number of people I see wandering along the street entirely engaged in their mobile telephones and with their ears plugged in to music. They’re not aware of their surroundings – you need to be aware of your surroundings.”

Of course, there are other dangers associated with public phone addiction…

All of which might lead you to make plans for this:

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