A city in Germany uses specially designed in-sidewalk lights to keep smartphone users safe

Pedestrians in Augsburg, Germany no longer have to look up to know if they have right of way thanks to traffic lights embedded in the sidewalks. If a car is coming, the strips will flash red alerting people to stop.

These additions are aimed to address safety concerns of the growing number of “smombies,” a portmanteau created by German youth of “smartphone” and “zombie” to describe people who are oblivious to their surroundings while walking. These lights are installed at three tram crossings in Augsburg that see particularly heavy foot traffic from teens. If successful, the city hopes to initiate a wider rollout to improve the safety of its citizens.

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