LED strips help 'smartphone zombies' to cross roads

Smart phones crave attention all the time, even when they shouldn't. More and more accidents are being caused by pedestrians making bad decisions due to being distracted by a text message or a social media alert. A town in the Netherlands has become so concerned at this growing trend, that they have installed new roadside pavement lights to help pedestrians cross roads safely.

The light strips, which have been fitted outside three schools in Bodegraven, have been specially designed to catch the eye of people looking down at their smart device and change colour to match traffic signals.

The system, which is comprised of LEDs is called +Lichtlijn (+Lightline) and was developed by Dutch firm HIG Traffic Systems.

However, the installation has not been met with widespread acclaim. 

Road safety groups in Holland have warned that the new lights act to reward bad behavior. Instead, the groups say, money should be spent on trying to educate pedestrians not to use their smartphone on the street, rather than pandering to their every whim with pavement lights.

‘It's not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones,’ Jose de Jong of VVN, the Dutch Traffic Safety Association, told the BBC.

‘We don't want people to use phones when they're dealing with traffic, even when walking around.

People must always look around them, to check if cars are actually stopping at the red signals.’

HIG plans to roll out the technology more widely if the instillation in Bodegraven is helpful. Similar pavement lights are being used  in the German city of Augsburg to help so-called ‘smartphone zombies’ navigate level crossings.

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