In what portends a dark future as our species evolves into hunch-backed, screen-addicted primates clutching hysterically to our smartphones, one German city has finally given up and just installed traffic lights in the sidewalk to keep text-walkers from killing themselves.
Noting an alarming pattern of pedestrians consumed with their mobile devices and ignoring traffic lights and rather than launching a campaign to convince walkers to look up, officials in Augsburg, Germany just moved the traffic lights down, The Washington Post reports. Augsburg embedded traffic lights in the sidewalk so even people staring toward the ground will know when the coast is clear and when it isn’t.
According to the Post, a recent survey of European cities found that nearly a fifth of pedestrians were distracted by smartphones. In the U.S. traffic lights on the ground may be even more necessary than in Germany—a University of Washington survey found that a third of American pedestrians in 2012 were distracted while crossing high-risk intersections.