10 Creative Solutions for Texting & Walking
By Grace Murano,
Oddee, 5 May 2016.

Texting while walking can produce serious injuries. See how some cities are dealing with this problem using texting lanes, poles and signs.

1. Ground-level traffic lights to warn people who text while walking that there's a train coming

Ground-level traffic lights to warn people who text while walking that there's a train coming

Do you like to type out text messages on your phone while walking? That's fine, as long as you don't get hit by a train. Tragically, that happened to a 15-year old girl in Augsburg, Germany and she died. As a result of that unfortunate accident, the city of Augsburg took action. It installed traffic lights at train crossings on the ground, where they would fall into the peripheral vision of texters.

2. #keepitinyourpants Post Pads

#keepitinyourpants Post Pads

In 2013, as part of Cellphone Courtesy Month, Telus launched an exciting new social media campaign called #keepitinyourpants. The campaign's website was full of amusing stop-using-your-cellphone memes, and many of them make a very valid point about how glued we are to our smartphones.

The idea behind Cellphone Courtesy Month is to encourage wireless providers to remind their customers to be mindful and respectful when using their phones. It was founded in 2002 by Jacqueline Whitmore and promotes proper phone etiquette.

3. A college's special stairway


There are three kinds of people in the world - those who walk, those who run, and those who text. Utah Valley University, a school of about 30,000 students, based in Orem, Utah, thinks it has a solution - designated lanes. The staircase at the school's new student life and wellness center is carved up into three sections, one for each type of intrepid climber.

4. Smartphone addict lane in China


In 2014, a Chinese city created a smartphone lane for pedestrians where they can tweet, text and surf the Internet without having to worry about where they're walking or who they're blocking. While the 165-foot path located in Chongqing is meant to make a statement, pedestrians are warned to use it at their "own risk."

A sidewalk split down the center is clearly marked with a mobile phone icon showing it is acceptable to multitask, while the other side of the path makes it clear that smartphone multitasking isn't welcome.

5. Belgian mobile phone company creates texting lanes for its safety campaign


In 2015, Antwerp gave smartphone users designated lanes where they could walk while texting or looking at their phones without irritating or endangering others. The narrow corridors were marked "text-walking lane" in English on some busy pedestrian streets in the city center. The markings on the ground were in highly visible white paint. The temporary scheme was the brainchild of a local mobile phone business, Mlab, which claims many smartphones are broken in collisions between pedestrians.

6. Padding lampposts in London


In 2008, the city of London decided to experiment with applying protective padding to lampposts to protect pedestrians who have a habit of walking into them while focusing on their phones. The padding was used at London's East-End on the iconic Brick Lane, where the highest incidents of "walking and texting" injuries in the country have been reported. A local charity, London Living Streets, teamed up with directory enquiries provider 118 118 to sponsor the project.

7. Camera window that allows you to see what's in front of you while texting


Check out this conceptual phone design by Bryan Brunsell. The camera is moved to the top of the phone, so while you're texting and walking you can see whatever it is you're about to walk into. The world is a better place thanks to this idea!

8. A street artist's fun road signs urges mobile users to pay attention while walking


It is a plea that will strike a chord with many busy shoppers and commuters, but it is debatable as just how much notice mobile phone users will pay to the signs of street artist Jay Shells, despite the appeal for them to "pay attention."

The official-looking signs in New York ask people to "Pay Attention While Walking - Your Facebook Update can wait." Shells wanted to make them more aware of their surroundings, especially when crossing the road. Shells said "The Metropolitan Etiquette Authority" signs had prompted "positive" reactions thus far.

9. Floor decals to alert distracted mobile users


On busy crosswalks and intersections, Delaware highway safety officials placed decals that read: “Look Up. Drivers aren't always looking out for you.”

10. Journalist uses the "Chewbacca" test to highlight the pitfalls of texting while walking


Mobile phones make us think we can multitask, but there's now proof that they impair us, even when we're not behind the wheel. Using a phone changes the way we walk - either by slowing us down, or veering us way off course.

Wall Street Journal columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler asked a colleague to dress up like Chewbacca from Star Wars and hang out on a San Francisco street during the morning commute. Then he interrupted pedestrians staring down at their phones and asked whether they'd noticed a legendary Wookie lurking about - many hadn't.

Ira Hyman Jr., a psychology professor at Western Washington University, explained this as “inattentional blindness.” In 2008, he conducted one of the first versions of the test, asking passersby if they'd noticed a clown on a unicycle. Half of the non-cellphone-using pedestrians saw the clown while just a quarter of people talking on a phone did.

Top image: Text walking lane in Antwerp, Belgium. Credit: Oneindia News via YouTube.

[Source: Oddee. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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