This Dutch Town Has A Clever Idea To Prevent Smartphone Users From Getting Run Over

Brilliance | Dec. 10, 2017

The Netherlands is taking an interesting route to protect pedestrians—more specifically, smartphone-wielding pedestrians. One Dutch town is testing out strips of LED lights near an intersection so screen-starers will know when it's safe and unsafe to cross the street. Not everyone in the country is on board with this plan.

Led By LED

You can find an intersection with these test lights in the Dutch town of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, which sits about 25 miles south of Amsterdam. The street corners have "light lines" of LEDs implanted in the sidewalks that light up red or green to correspond with when it is safe and unsafe to cross the street. The thought here is that more and more "smartphone zombies" have their necks cranked down at their screens. By being so distracted by whatever the heck is happening on their phones, people can't pay enough attention to oncoming traffic.

"Heads Up!"

It's never bad to get ahead of a potential problem before it happens, but these LED sidewalk lines are being met with some resistance. The Dutch road safety group VVN, for example, said that the idea rewards bad behavior. "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." Similar pavement lights are being tested in the German city Augsburg, but one can only guess how soon you'll see them illuminate your town's sidewalks.

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