London - It’s an infuriating habit of the modern age that can have fatal consequences for those who cannot live without their cellphones.
But a UK government transport adviser has come up with a radical solution for Britain’s army of ‘zombie pedestrians’ who walk along with their eyes fixed on their phones. Shaun Helman has called for road signs to be placed on the ground to stop them walking in front of cars .
These could include ‘text walking lanes’ with painted white arrows to guide them along safely, and strips of red lights on kerbs to warn them to stop and look before crossing the road.
"If we are thinking about injury prevention," he said, "there is a strong case for redesigning infrastructure rather than relying on other methods of changing behaviour."
Helman, who is chief transport scientist at the Transport Research Laboratory, said it was a ‘myth’ that people can walk along and use their cellphone safely. Even if public education initiatives were launched to ‘nudge’ pedestrians, as well as just drivers, off their smartphones many people would persist with this ‘undesirable’ behaviour, he added.
In Holland a light system on kerbs which flash red to stop zombie pedestrians has been successfully trialed.