Dutch city testing traffic lights aimed at 'smartphone zombies'

The new 'lightlines' are designed to catch the attention of pedestrians engrossed in their phones...

Dutch city testing traffic lights aimed at 'smartphone zombies'

Image: HIG Traffic Systems

A city in the Netherlands is testing a new system that is aiming to tackle the problem of pedestrians being too engrossed in their smartphones.

'Lightlines' have been introduced on a trial basis at a set of traffic lights near three schools in Bodegraven.

The LED light-strips, installed by HIG Traffic Systems, work in sync with the main traffic lights - turning red and green as needed.

The low placement of the lines, however, is intended to catch the attention of anyone who may be looking down at their phones as opposed to paying attention to the road ahead of them.

The company says that while the trial is currently focused on one traffic crossing, they hope to offer the system in other parts of the Netherlands. 

Bodegraven-Reeuwijk councillor Kees Oskam says that people are becoming 'increasingly distracted' by their phones instead of watching traffic.

"As a government, we probably can not easily reverse this trend," Mr Oskam admits - but he suggests that they can make efforts to deal with the issue.

However, concerns have also been raised about the new system.

The Dutch Traffic Safety Association is warning that the lightlines 'reward' bad behaviour by pedestrians.

Quoted by BBC, the association's Jose de Jong argues: "We don't want people to use phones when they're dealing with traffic, even when walking around.

"People must always look around them, to check if cars are actually stopping at the red signals," he added.