Danger from mobile phone users: This metropolis is testing new traffic lights

It sounds like something out of a bad movie. Hong Kong is testing new pedestrian traffic lights because too many people only look at their cell phones and thus overlook traffic and traffic lights.

Hong Kong has a zombie problem. Not the kind of zombies you see on TV, but a more modern twist. So-called smartphone zombies, or “smombies” for short, wander through the streets of the metropolis, only looking at their cell phones and without noticing their surroundings. And that’s a problem, because many of these smartphone pedestrians don’t pay enough attention to traffic and even overlook traffic lights. And in doing so, they not only endanger themselves, but also other road users.

Hong Kong’s traffic office is looking for solutions – a new pilot project should remedy the situation. Traffic lights are equipped with additional devices, in addition to the red man, a red stripe lights up on the ground on both sides of the street. This should be more visible for the “Smombies”, because if you look at your smartphone, you are known to be looking down. pictures of

Hong Kong Free Press
show what that looks like.

The construction works with the help of an LED lamp that is attached to the traffic light with an extension arm. To ensure that the light is always visible, the intensity automatically adjusts to the time of day. The LED lamp is being tested as a support for the classic light signals, but is not intended to replace them. It could help reduce accidents involving distracted smartphone users. After the end of the test phase, the traffic office will analyze the results and decide on how to proceed.

And pedestrian smartphone use isn’t just a problem in Hong Kong. According to official statistics, every fifth pedestrian accident in Austria is caused by being distracted by a mobile phone. There are no such statistics for Germany, but here too smartphone users are an increasing problem on the road. In Augsburg, a similar idea even came up in 2016, where traffic lights with flashing floor LEDs for smartphone users were also tested. The project was discontinued, but the two converted traffic lights were left as is.

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