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[VIDEO NEWS] Are floor traffic lights the answer to the “smombie” problem?

Mar 22,2018
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1) Last month, at a crosswalk by the Dongdaegu Transfer Center, Daegu, something caught the eyes of smartphone users.

2) It was the traffic light glowing on the floor. The signal, shaped like a straight line, switched colors simultaneously with ordinary traffic lights.

3) Pedestrians using smartphones who had their line of sight pointed towards the floor could tell that the signal changed without lifting their heads.

4) The National Police Agency is pushing for the formal introduction of “floor traffic lights” to stop “smombie” accidents. “Smombie” combines “smartphone” and “zombie” and refers to those who stare at their smartphones while walking.

5) Last year, 177 traffic accidents were caused by the use of smartphones while walking. That is 1.5 times more than the 117 accidents in 2013.

6) “Existing traffic lights are failing to catch the attention of pedestrians concentrating on smartphones. New ways of signaling are needed to match this new pedestrian culture.” - a staff member of the National Police Agency

7) The staff member also added that, during the month-long test operation period in Daegu, floor traffic lights seemed to help pedestrians follow the signals.

8) The police are planning to begin test operations using the new traffic lights in Daegu and in the cities of Suwon and Yangju in Gyeonggi starting from the end of March.

9) If the test operations prove successful, these traffic lights may be accepted as official signal apparatuses as early as this September.

10) Netizens are divided on the matter.

11) “I don’t know if just installing all this stuff is the right way. Shouldn’t we just regulate smartphone usage while walking like how other countries do?” - Netizen A

12) “It’s for safety since banning smartphones is virtually impossible.” - Netizen B

13) “It would be simpler to use voice guidance speakers. We already have those installed for the hearing impaired.” - Netizen C

14) “Smombie accidents cannot not be neglected anymore. We need social experiments to save every life we can.” - Ko Joon-ho, associate professor of the Graduate School of Urban Studies at Hanyang University.

15) Designed for a new pedestrian culture, attention is now on these floor traffic lights. With smombie accidents becoming a social issue, many hope that these new lights can save lives.

Video sourced from JoongAng Ilbo
Directed by Lee Jeong-bong
Produced by An Ji-hye, Lee Dae-hong
Translated by Kim Hyo-jung
Edited by Hoyeon Yoo