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Transportation Technology

Dutch Town Pilots Lightlines To Help Distracted Smartphone Users Cross the Road (autoexpress.co.uk) 113

An anonymous reader writes: A Dutch municipality has introduced pedestrian traffic lights specifically designed to help smartphone users avoid stepping into traffic by displaying a colorful strip of light on the pavement. Built by Dutch firm HIG Traffic Systems, the new +LightLine light comes with a LED strip that illuminates the pavement with a horizontal strip before the road crossing. Smartphone users looking at their phone will see the color of the strip beneath their feet before stepping out into the road.

Dutch Town Pilots Lightlines To Help Distracted Smartphone Users Cross the Road

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  • You know.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @04:24PM (#53876075)

    All these kludges do is breed better idiots. Time to let darwin clean house a bit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least these assholes won't be damaging as many cars with their stupid meatbags. That's the only benefit I see out of this.

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        Just cut the cell service and let society heal.

      • Re:You know.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by chefmonkey ( 140671 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @05:56PM (#53876635)

        If you've been to Holland, you'll notice that the drivers are extremely careful -- it would be hard to get hit by a car. I'm certain these light-lines are to keep pedestrians from getting run over by bicycles. In Holland, I think bikes actually earn points, Deathrace-2000-style, for aiming at pedestrians.

        • by Evtim ( 1022085 )

          List of road participants in the Netherlands [in decreasing order of danger]

          - small motors [they are allowed to use the bike lanes], the so called "broomers" - especially kids [16-17yrs] hired for delivery jobs [uber, kangoroo, pizza, post] - these youngsters often do [on the bicycle lane] higher speed than it is allowed on the car road next by....crazy!
          - old folk in cars [sorry, it is true; they are driving slow, but also have quite a problem with observing the traffic and reaction times]
          - bicycles
          - pedest

        • If you've been to Holland, you'll notice that the drivers are extremely careful -- it would be hard to get hit by a car.

          There's a reason for this. Hitting either a pedestrian or a cyclist with a car automatically qualifies you as getting properly screwed. You are at fault. No ifs or buts, you are at fault. If there were really mitigating circumstances you can go through a lengthy legal process to convince the court that yes the person was horribly drunk, suicidal, and faster than Usain Bolt in jumping out from a blind corner, and you were only doing 1km per hour and he ran into your car not the other way around, and his leg

    • All these kludges do is breed better idiots. Time to let darwin clean house a bit.

      That may still happen. I'm not sure about the Netherlands, but in a lot of places in the United States it's actually dangerous to cross a street without looking even if the pedestrian traffic light is lit. In most cases the light exists on corners, and many states allow drivers to turn right if oncoming traffic is clear. Most of the time, the oncoming traffic that could hit you is on the left. So if you're looking left and start moving your car before looking to the right, you could easily hit someone i

      • by Imrik ( 148191 )

        At least the right turns will be at low speed, the ones that scare me are the people turning left that only look at oncoming traffic and not at the crosswalk.

    • Re:You know.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @05:37PM (#53876531)

      Now they just need to do the same for drivers.... move the traffic lights and road signs so that they can be seen while still looking down at your phone...

      • by NoSalt ( 801989 )

        Now they just need to do the same for drivers.... move the traffic lights and road signs so that they can be seen while still looking down at your phone...

        This, actually, isn't a bad idea. Have a mandatory smartphone app on every phone sold. Whenever a driver is approaching an intersection, have the app, which is always running in the background, alert the driver about the intersection. I think this would be awesome.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PoopJuggler ( 688445 )
      This is a perfect example of the difference between Europe and America. Europe swims with the flow of the universe, while America swims against it. Europe moves forward in time, America moves backwards..
      • There are two kinds of country in this world. Those that use the metric system and those who have put men on the moon.
        • Surely bringing up events from forty-five years ago will counter his point about being stuck in the past.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ok, fuck it, I am done with user friendly. This is too far. Some people deserve to be hit by cars. Instead of this, let's revise traffic laws so that cars that mow down people using smartphones aren't liable for anything. Maybe we can pay drivers who mow down smartphone users a bounty.

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      Ok, fuck it, I am done with user friendly. This is too far. Some people deserve to be hit by cars. Instead of this, let's revise traffic laws so that cars that mow down people using smartphones aren't liable for anything. Maybe we can pay drivers who mow down smartphone users a bounty.

      When did the streets *start* being user friendly to pedestrians? Pedestrians are routed blocks out of their way to get to a destination that's just across the street, when they get there they have to stop and hit the "pedestrian beg button" to beg for permission to cross the street (even if the light is already green for cars when they get there, they sitll have to sit through an entire light cycle), and then when they finally get the pedestrian walk signal, cars get a green at the same time, so the pedestr

      • Weighted crowbars with hooks are inexpensive, and they rip the daylights out of a modern 'collision safe' car. Every pedestrian should carry a 'walking stick' that doubles as one.

      • Oh you must be American. You should come visit the Netherlands at some point before you make any comment about how unfriendly roads are to pedestrians or cyclists. Typically it's a case of cars have endless restrictions but pedestrians and cyclists are gods amongst metal head plebs.

        Pedestrians never need to watch for cars since cars are always liable for hitting a pedestrian, ESPECIALLY when they have a green light. Oh that was wrong. I should have said "regardless if" instead. ... and they know it too whic

  • Why not use small fines and bring some revenue into the local government?

    • Why not use small fines and bring some revenue into the local government?

      Because fines have been shown in general not to make even the slightest difference.
      Because the Dutch wouldn't dare fine someone for walking or cycling. That is something only reserved for cars. They are trying to promote the removal of cars from roads and that makes pedestrians and cyclists untouchables.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Because measures like this save money. It costs money to scrape them off the road and treat them. It costs money when traffic is snared up because of a collision. It also costs when public transport is delayed because of someone getting mashed on the road. Sure, it denies the Dutch the chance to gloat at someone being hurt, but it's safer and cheaper for everyone.

  • What they should've done is pass a law so that drivers can't be held legally responsible or sued for injuries distracted smartphone users suffer.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @04:40PM (#53876199) Journal

    Smartphone users looking at their phone will see the colour of the strip beneath their feet before stepping out into the road.

    If the two separate eye-level light indicators and the survival instinct you've been genetically encoded with don't grab your attention, it seems unlikely a third, foot level light strip will do it.

    Let's be honest: You can be distracted merely thinking about something else when you should be paying attention. Hell, a driver who is paying attention might very well prevent a pedestrian impact... should we now then beam "Warning! Pedestrian!" into the vehicle's stereo speakers?

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Hell, a driver who is paying attention might very well prevent a pedestrian impact... should we now then beam "Warning! Pedestrian!" into the vehicle's stereo speakers?

      Well, yes. Better still let's make it so the car's computer will automatically brake safely if there's any obstruction in front of it ("safe" meaning that braking now won't cause you to be rear-ended). This is a completely earnest reply, and indeed it seems to be where the car industry is heading.

    • You are making a big assumption that the driver is paying attention. When crossing streets, at the crosswalk and with the light, I still check to see if it's safe. There's about once a month that I have to prevent myself from starting or else I would be hit. It's actually worse in the suburbs because people expect everyone to be driving. Pedestrians just aren't expected out in the suburbs at a crossing so drivers that have been waiting for the light to change in order to make a right turn (it being too bu

      • You are making a big assumption that the driver is paying attention.

        I make no such assumption. What I have noticed, however, is whether you're speaking of a two vehicle collision or a vehicle/pedestrian collision, is that if one of the parties is paying attention it greatly reduces the likelihood of an accident.

    • it seems unlikely a third, foot level light strip will do it.

      Two things outside your peripheral vision is the same thing as something inside it? Is this some new form of human brain theory you're studying?

      • "Als je zo afgeleid oversteken van de weg niet schoppen in uw overlevingsinstinct, kan nog een visuele waarschuwing er niet toe."
        • Repeating the same thing in Dutch won't make it true. Distraction does not imply complete loss of external input. It means you're not paying attention, and no one pays attention 100% of the time.

          Putting a big wide light directly in front of someone's face will have a very different effect than putting a small dot above eye level 10m away.

  • And those who have some basic cognizance of their environment will simply see the LEDs under their feet.

    But this will be a great boost to the longevity of those who walk around on public streets wearing VR goggles.

  • by Hulfs ( 588819 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @04:51PM (#53876263)

    At least it's probably cheaper than the 120K EUR squirrel bridge near The Hague and will get used more than 5 times:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

    • Ironically I have yet to see a squirrel in Holland. I have seen squirrels in every bordering country ... just not in the Netherlands.

  • Because the chicken didn't
    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

      o Why did the smartphone user cross the road?

      o Wasn't paying attention, didn't notice the chicken waiting for traffic to clear the crosswalk

      Good news, though... free fried pedestrian at my place tonight!

  • by Baby Duck ( 176251 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @04:53PM (#53876277) Homepage
    This teaches the wrong behavior and makes them less prepared for roads without lightlines or malfunctioning lightlines.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @05:05PM (#53876343) Journal

    Seriously, at what point do we finally just let stupid people kill themselves?

    • That's all well and good, but won't you think of the poor people that hit these jerks?

      Bam, you just killed someone's loved one.

      I don't know about you, but despite the fault determination I would still be wracked with guilt and remorse.

  • by Drunkulus ( 920976 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @05:12PM (#53876361)
    Check out iLook for road crossing assistance. The basic version performs an effective real-time check for oncoming traffic. iLook Pro looks both ways.
    • I sooooo hope this is humor, but I'm too afraid to check the store because I don't think I could live with the disappointment.
      • I sooooo hope this is humor ...

        It is, but the basic idea is sound ...

        What is needed is for cars to be tracked at all times (as self-driving cars will be anyway) and then using either data from the centralised tracking server or via proximity to the phone (or both), the smartphone will direct people where, when and how to cross the road safely. I think too that we need to fine anyone attempting to cross a road using such an underdeveloped and untrustworthy bio-tech such as "eyes," ... some people are jus

  • Better idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nwaack ( 3482871 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @06:13PM (#53876713)
    I've got a better idea. Rather than warning strips, they should install cameras to take pictures of the idiots that are too addicted to their phones to obey traffic signals. Then they should post those pictures on the internet so we can publicly shame them. After all, most phone addicts only care about one thing more than their phone, and that's how others feel about their online persona.
    • Hardly. Most phone addicts don't give a shit about their online persona. What they care about is everyone else's. Public shaming won't do anything to stop this.

  • As Described in this article [npr.org] Eindhoven, Netherlands has solar powered blue and green glowing bike paths. No surprise, as Philips was headquartered here for years and the town grew-up in the electric lighting industry.
  • Why do we want to save these people, again? I guess they could potentially cause a lot of damage to vehicles that it would be nice to avoid. Their elimination from society very well may be worth the cost, however.

  • Whatever happened to the saying
    Look where you walk.
  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Thursday February 16, 2017 @02:03AM (#53878485) Homepage
    Not joking. I live in London, we've tried a couple of experiments by just stopping, as one does, and morons on mobiles (may I suggest the hashtag #moronsonmobiles) just bump into you. A few apologise, most do not. So, let's get rid of the lot. Nothing that you need to do on your phone is that important, even looking at pictures of cats.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Not joking. I live in London, we've tried a couple of experiments by just stopping, as one does, and morons on mobiles (may I suggest the hashtag #moronsonmobiles) just bump into you. A few apologise, most do not. So, let's get rid of the lot. Nothing that you need to do on your phone is that important, even looking at pictures of cats.

      I tend to use the acronym MOP (morons On Phones) for drivers too busy with their head buried in their phones on the road.

      MOP's in cars is much less of a problem in England than they were in Australia. Perth police did a weekend sting on phones whilst driving and issued 700 files in 48 hours... and it's not like they didn't advertise the fact this sting was happening for at least a week beforehand.

      However back to London, there was a report on ITV a few months back about a spate of "brazen" (ITVs word, not mi

  • I for one, am in favour of putting up a length of string at ankle height - also called a tripwire - at said crossings. Much cheaper, lower tech and thus less finicky, and will also teach people to pay attention to their surroundings.
  • Pretty amazing the number of highly scored posts promoting autodarwination of own species. In other words voting *against* safety measures for an acknowledged safety issue. Personally I think a flashing fullscreen big red icon that displays in response to broadcast danger signals would be better but seriously traffic accidents from people ultrafocused on data has got to be one of the bigger threats to readers. Personally I have been in some near misses with bikes
    due to reading slashdot while walking

  • why not broadcoast a warning directly to the smarphone?

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