This Dutch town has traffic lights on the ground because people are staring at their phones

Image: REUTERS/Phil Noble

A Dutch town has introduced an unusual way of trying to keep smartphone-addicted residents safe: Installing traffic lights in the pavement.

Bodegraven, in the Netherlands, has put strip lights in the floor at a pedestrian crossing — meaning people who stare at their phones all day will see them, preventing them from wandering dangerously into traffic. (We heard about the news via the BBC.)

Apart from their unusual location, they work just like ordinary traffic lights: Green means go, and red means wait.

 Image 2

Image: HIG Traffic Systems

The lights are built by HIG Traffic Systems, a company based in the town, which hopes to sell them more widely to other towns and cities, The Guardian reports. Right now they’re just being used at a single intersection in a trial.

A spokesperson for the company told Dutch-language site OmroepWest:“Smartphone use by pedestrians and cyclists is a major problem. Trams in The Hague regularly make an emergency stop because someone looks at their smartphone instead of traffic.”

However, the lights have also proved controversial. “It’s not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones,” Dutch Traffic Safety Association employee Jose de Jong reportedly said.

“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.”

Source: World Economic Forum

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About Tim Cosgrove

Tim Cosgrove heads two technology companies Co-Star and Cloud-Star who supply 4G LTE connectivuty products to the ICT industry globally and are based at Harrogate in the UK. Working at the forefront of the mobile communications industry gives Tim a unique perspective on the latest emerging technologies that help to improve how businesses and people communicate and operate in the future. Tim is keen to share his insights and passion for the latest technologies through the Co-star blog. Please get in touch if you have any technology related news or press releases that you would like us to share.