28th April 2016
 

The German city of Augsburg has put traffic lights on its pavements, to help pedestrians who are so busy looking at their smartphone stay safe.

The traffic lights will enable users to see if it is unsafe or safe to walk, without looking up from their phone. They work in the same way that normal road traffic lights do, so when the lights are red, the pedestrians should stop and wait until they change to green.

The small LEDs in the ground will flash red, right in the line of sight of the pedestrians on their phones, to try and make it more likely they will realise it is unsafe to continue walking.

The installation was prompted by the death of a 15 year old girl, who was struck by a tram as she crossed the tram tracks two months ago, having been distracted by her mobile phone, as well as having her headphones in. Two others were lucky to only suffer slight injuries after similar incidents occurred, reportedly.

Many people, particularly the younger generations, look at their phone a lot of the time while they walk. It has even led to these people being christened “smombies” – a cross between smartphone and zombie. In Germany, this term is very popular, even being awarded the title of youth word of the year 2015.

Although some people have criticised the introduction of these lights, which is only a trial at the moment, it is definitely an intriguing idea on how to improve the safety of these smombies.