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For Distracted Phone Users, Germany Puts Traffic Lights on the Ground

The sidewalk signals warn smartphone users when they’re about to walk into the path of a train.
relates to For Distracted Phone Users, Germany Puts Traffic Lights on the Ground
Thomas Hosemann/SWA

How many times have you done it—been so engrossed in your phone while walking that you slam into a light pole, dog, or speeding train?

If it’s the latter, chances are you’re probably not reading this story, and one German city wants to prevent that from happening. Stadtwerke Augsburg, a public-works/transportation provider that works for the Bavarian burg of Augsburg, has outfitted two rail stations with experimental traffic signals for oblivious phone users. They’re on the ground, obviously, and they blink green for “safe” and red for “about to be pancaked by a vehicle weighing in the neighborhood of 50 tons.”