Dutch municipality rolls out traffic lights for distracted smartphone users


Ah, the troubles that we smartphone users have with traffic. It doesn't matter if we text, go through our news feed or hunt Pokemon in our urban environments - every now and then it just so happens that we don't pay attention to where we're going. Putting your smartphone down while crossing a road is the safest and most logical thing to do, but in the future, advanced traffic lights might direct those that get carried away.

Such a new system is currently being tested out in the Dutch municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk. The project is called “+ Light Line” and is developed and carried out by the Dutch company HIG Traffic Systems. Several traffic lights in the municipality are equipped with tiny LED strips that glow on the pavement before some of the busier road crossings. These strips change color from red to green in unison with the main traffic light, effectively alerting distracted phone users of when it is safe to pass.

The + Light Line system in action.

In an interview with Dutch news agency OmroepWest, HIG's Mark Hofman has expressed concerns that the pedestrian-smartphone combination is not as harmless as it may sound:
“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.”

Kaas Oskam, a councillor in the Bodegraven-Reeuwijk township also warned about the hazards of getting distracted with “social media, games and WhatsApp”. In his opinion, such dangerous trends can't be easily reversed, but can be anticipated.

The tests strips are currently only installed at one intersection that is close to several schools, but if the project becomes successful, HIG aspires to implement it on a much wider scale.

source: The Guardian

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10 Comments

1. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Wow...almost ashamed to be Dutch...

2. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

Because they've installed these lights? Doesn't sound like you're proud to be Dutch in the first place

4. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Yes, I think it's downright moronic people need these lights to pay attention in traffic. And I am not really proud to be Dutch no, why should I be proud because I happened to be born in a certain country. George Carlin said it best: "Pride should be reserved for something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn't a skill... it's a f**king genetic accident. You wouldn't say I'm proud to be 5'11"; I'm proud to have a pre-disposition for colon cancer."

7. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

I 100% agree with you on that first sentence. I'm getting to the point of where I'm going to start yelling at drivers that I see who are on their phones, as I walk by. Maybe you're not aware of what contributions the Dutch have given to the world.

10. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I am aware :) Dutch are some of the best dike builders for instance.

8. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

While I agree its moronic you need lights to make up for people being stupid, the point is, people want to be stupid and you can't really stop them, best you can do is make sure they don't cause trouble for others, walk into traffic and such, in my book this isn't about making them safe, but about making others safe from them, smart move.

3. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

The likelyhood that pedestrians are going to pay attention to these lights....on the ground is very slim. If they're distracted by their device as they're walking, and not paying attention to their surroundings, then how would they notice a light on the ground?

5. bambamboogy02

Posts: 838; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

The same way people do when they text and drive, unfortunately.

6. Valdomero

Posts: 666; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Maybe a big glove that slaps the pedestrians when the light is red and then a big glove that push the pedestrians when it's green. People are getting too much dependent on their phones...

9. s.mrabet

Posts: 147; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

When your eyes are down on the phone there is no way you're gonna miss this light, unless you're blind or your head is inside the screen :)

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