This Big City Will Soon Add Traffic Lights to Sidewalks for People Who Don't Look Up From Their Phones
File this one under, "sigh, I guess this is just the way we live now." In an effort to protect people who have decided that walking and texting is a fine idea, the New South Wales state government in Australia will install some ground-level stop lights in and around Sydney for a six-month trial period starting this December.
The traffic lights are likely to be set up in five locations in the city's highly trafficked central business district and will cost the government a total of $250,000 Australian dollars. The traffic light trial was announced as part of New South Wales' road safety campaign Towards Zero, which aims to bring the number of driving fatalities down to zero. That's an especially urgent task since New South Wales saw a 49 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from 2014 to 2015.
Bernard Carlon, the Centre for Road Safety's executive director, told Mashable, "Pedestrians are less protected in a road crash, and are therefore more likely to be seriously injured or killed. This is why we need to create a road system that keeps them safe, and this includes situations when they may not be paying attention."
Augsburg, Germany, instituted a similar traffic light solution in April near public transit stops. While Australia and Germany's institution of the stop lights is meant to help combat a serious concern, "texting and walking" lanes have cropped up in a few different cities -- but they have largely been momentary social experiments.
In 2014, Washington, D.C., briefly got one as part of a TV show shoot, and a 30-meter texting lane showed up in a theme park in Chongqing, China. Last summer, a temporary "text walking lane" showed up in Antwerp, Belgium, as part of a marketing campaign by smartphone lab Mlab, but it seems that it broke a couple of laws and faced the ire of the Antwerp mayor's office for the attempt.
So now, we'd like to offer a PSA from all of us here at Entrepreneur. We know you're busy, but be safe out there. Please don't walk into traffic trying to text your co-founder -- we promise, it can wait.