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Dutch town lighting up footpath to save smartphone users from themselves

It is hoped a strip of LED lights will alert pedestrians who can not tear their eyes away from their smartphones when they need to stop.

An LED lighting strip has been inserted into the footpath in a Dutch town to save pedestrians engrossed in their smartphones from walking out in front of traffic.

The so-called +Lichtlijn (lightline) is linked to existing traffic lights. It changes colour to red or green at the same time as the signals do, the council of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, in southwest Holland, said.

The light strip is just a pilot project at this stage. It was developed and installed by local company HIG Traffic Systems, which hopes to sell it to other municipalities. Three schools in the district are said to be excited about the project.

Alderman Kees Oskam said pedestrians were distracted from paying attention to traffic by social media, games and music on their smartphones.

 As a government, we probably can not easily reverse this trend, but we want to anticipate it," he said.

Dutch road safety organisation VVN said it did not think the new lighting would be a solution, Dutch News reported. "What you are doing is rewarding bad behaviour," a spokesman said.