The project aims to increase pedestrian safety at major junctions
Since February 14th, 2017 the ‘+Light line’ pilot project is up and running in the Dutch municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk. Special traffic lights, embedding a thin strip of LEDs on the sidewalks at busy road crossings, signal to inattentive smartphone users (the so-called ‘smobies’) when it is safe to cross. The lights are for the time-being only installed in one intersection, located near three schools in Bodegraven, however HIG Traffic Systems –the local company which makes them-, hopes to bring them to other Dutch cities as well. In Europe, almost 17% of pedestrians use their smartphone in road traffic putting themselves at risk, according to a survey of six European capitals conducted by DEKRA Accident Research.
‘People are increasingly distracted by social media, games, WhatsApp and music at the expense of paying attention to traffic. As a government, we probably can’t easily reverse this trend, but we want to anticipate it’, said Kees Oskam, a counselor in the municipality.
However, the Dutch Traffic Safety Association (VVN) does not support the venture as "It's not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones". "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", added Jose de Jong, employee of VVN.
A similar action took place last year in Augsburg, Germany, when the city installed this type of lights two months after a 15-year-old girl was fatally hit by a tram when she walked onto the tracks while looking at her smartphone with headphones on. These lights look like cats eyes road markers, are flat on the ground and flash red when a tram is approaching.
Source: The Guardian