Back in mid-July, a two-way walking lane appeared in Washington, D.C. One side was a dedicated path for smartphone users and the other for people not hunched over their devices. It wasn't put there by the city, but was part of the National Geographic behavioural science show Mind Over Masses. However, one city in China doesn't think it's such a bad idea.
Image via news.cn
Engadget reports that Chongqing has co-opted NatGeo's safety experiment for one part of the city known as "Foreigner Street."
The act of smartphone-obsessed pedestrianism (which I learned just now) is known as "phubbing," a portmanteau of the phrase "phone snubbing." Although a dedicated walking path seems like a needless idea, smartphone-related pedestrian injuries are a real problem. A report last March from the University of Buffalo stated that there are more distracted walking injuries per mile than injuries from distracted driving, including everything from falling down stairs to stepping into oncoming traffic.
Whether this will be a permanent feature of Chongqing's streets is uncertain, but a dedicated smartphone lane wouldn't be the first measure a city's taken to protect people from their own (de)vices. Back in 2008, Britain created a "Safe Text" street by wrapping padding around lampposts to help prevent distracted texting injuries. So a smartphone lane might seem ridiculous, or as a throwaway behavioural experiment as it was intended, but statistics would suggest that in some areas — they just might be needed. [Engadget]