Alarmed by the number of accidents involving distracted smartphone users, Australian design agency Buro North has proposed to embed traffic lights where they can be most visible: on the ground.
The Melbourne-based firm’s Smart Tactile Paving system works like traditional traffic lights. It flashes red for stop and green for go. The difference, though, is that it’s found on the pavement, where the system’s LED lights and bumpy panels could easily be seen and felt by those looking down on their gadgets.
According to Buro North, they came up with the concept after learning about Pokemon GO players getting involved road accidents.
“When the Pokémon craze hit Melbourne, the number of people wandering across the road looking at their phones was pretty startling,” said Büro North director Soren Luckins. “That’s when we realised we had redundant infrastructure that had not adapted or evolved to keep up with human behavioural changes.”
“The pedestrian crossing lights that are so prevalent throughout the world are designed for a community looking ahead of them, not down at a phone.”
While looking up from your device when approaching a busy intersection might seem like common sense, studies have shown that one in three people do otherwise. Buro North hopes to change this.
“Rather than attempting to modify behavior by legislation or punitive laws that will ultimately prove futile, we want to make cities safer by design.”
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