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Dutch town launches traffic-light pilot for pedestrians using smartphones

Dutch authorities have launched an innovative scheme involving foot-level traffic lights which is aimed at warning pedestrians distracted by their smartphones. With pedestrians increasingly preoccupied with their devices - some are straying on to the road and into oncoming traffic. However, a Dutch town is set to roll-out a pilot project aimed at warning pedestrians of potential danger.

The scheme has been called 'Light-Line' and used LED light strips which are embedded into a pedestrian crossing and is subsequently linked to traffic lights which cast a red or green line across the pedestrian's path. The project will be launched in the small wester Dutch town of Bodegraven, and local councilor Kees Oskam believes the pilot scheme will be a success and will save lives.

He also pointed out that the trend of being addicted to our smartphones is a trend difficult to overturn, so it's better to anticipate the issues and deal with them in that way.

He said: "People are increasingly distracted on their smartphones when they are out and about among traffic. Greater attention is being paid to social media, games, and music, and so there is not so much attention on traffic. We probably can't overturn this trend, so we might as well try to anticipate problems."

Dutch firm HIG Traffic Systems have produced the innovative lighting system and if the project is deemed a success then the next step will be to embark on a nationwide roll-out of the scheme in Dutch towns and cities. It has been touted for future use on the country's vast cycle paths.

Statistics released by the Dutch Road Safety Organization revealed that a smartphone is directly involved in one in five bike accidents which involve young people. Road safety campaigners have praised the decision taken by local council officials in Bodegraven and are working for it to be implemented in other urban areas in Holland.