We are hopefully all aware of pedestrian crossings and the signs and signals used to indicate how we interact with these locations, red and green men, traffic lights, even belisha beacons, but as the world around us changes, so does the need to adapt signs and signals in order for them to be noticed.
The image of a sulky teen with their head bowed down reading their mobile might be an easy one for our mind to conjure up, but as social media, messaging, live news, updates and our digital assistants follow us in our pocket devices, it is becoming more common for our phones to serve as a greater distraction as we walk down the street.
In cities like Murcia, and many others, signs have been painted on the pavement warning pedestrians to be more alert, often accompanied in areas with tactile paving, ribbed tiles designed to help those with visual impairment, now helping those who choose to not look ahead.
Now, in the city of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk in the west of the Netherlands, a city with a population of 32,000 inhabitants, a new type of light alert has been installed to prevent mobile phone distractions. It is called, “+Lichtlijn”.
The new system has been located at a pedestrian crossing at an intersection near several schools. It consists of a line of light integrated into the sidewalk that changes from red to green, synchronised with the main traffic light, and is visible by pedestrians looking at their mobile phones.
“People are increasingly distracted by their mobile phones. We cannot oppose this fashion, but we can anticipate it,” said Kees Oskam, councillor for Bodebraven-Reeuwijk City Council.
The “+Lichtlijn” project is currently being tested and could be used in other Dutch municipalities in order to further prove its effectiveness.
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