Augsburg is testing a traffic light for smartphones

Smartphones do not only distract car drivers from traffic but also pedestrians. For this reason, Augsburg is now testing a traffic light for smartphones.

Die Smartphone-Ampel soll die Sicherheit der Fußgänger verbessern.

The test of Stadtwerke Augsburg: Blinking LED lights on the floor indicate a red traffic light to smartphone users. Testing site: Pedestrian crossing at the tram station Haunstetter Straße. (Picture: swa / Thomas Hosemann)

It’s the same picture everywhere: people of every age stare at the display of their smartphone, even when walking through road traffic. A special name has been created for them: smombie. It’s a neologism created from “smartphone” and “zombie”. It stands for people who are so much distracted by their smartphone that they don’t notice their environment anymore. This can have fatal consequences for their safety!

Hardly any of them pays attention to the traffic when crossing a street. The project of Stadtwerke Augsburg (Augsburg municipal utilities) addresses this issue: With the help of a special LED installation they want to increase the safety of smartphone users in road traffic. At a crossing, they installed LED lights on the floor that light up in red when the traffic light for pedestrians is red or in case a tram passes by.

After the testing phase it is to be decided whether the additional traffic light for smartphone users is effective and if it will be installed at other locations.

The DEKRA Accident Research has investigated across six European cities, that many pedestrians in road traffic are distracted from road traffic by their smartphone.

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