We’re all guilty of screen watching our phones when out and about, so innovative company HIG traffic signals have developed the concept of +Lichtlijn, a solution to help keep pedestrians safe whilst gazing down rather than at traffic signals.
The Dutch company are trialling a system at a pedestrian crossing in Bodegraven where LED light strips are planted into the kerb to change colour from green to red in synchronisation with the traffic lights in the hope that distracted phone users who are not paying attention to crossing signals catch sight of the strips and become more aware of their surroundings.
The pilot has led to controversy between the manufacturers and the Dutch Traffic Safety Association. Jose de Jong VVN of the association has stated that "It's not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones.”
In the UK the AA first highlighted the issue of ‘Smartphone Zombies’ in a 2009 report ‘ipod Zombies’. The problem has since escalated with 72% of drivers now stating that they have seen pedestrians veer into the road when distracted by their devices.
According to government figures “Pedestrians accounted for three quarters of the increase in fatalities between 2013 and 2014. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12 per cent from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014”. With ever increasing phone usage from people of all generations these external LED displays could be an innovative and life saving approach, to an increasing and life threatening problem.
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