Hong Kong’s “zombie traffic lights” experiments targeted those who are glued to their smartphones

It is not uncommon to see smartphone zombies walking the streets of Hong Kong, eyes glued to their screens and only vaguely aware of their surroundings.

The problem appears to be so serious that the city’s Department of Transportation is experimenting with “zombie traffic lights” in four locations to remind pedestrians not to cross the road while the red light is on.

The administration said in a statement, Tuesday, that the devices will remain installed at the four road crossings for a period of six months.

The device illuminates the crosswalk parking area when the traffic light is red.

“The red light reflected from the ground or a mobile device can serve to remind pedestrians, especially those looking at their mobile phones, that they should not cross the road when the ‘red man’ symbol is lit,” the department said.

The four locations are Percival Street/Fu Ming Street in Causeway Bay, Tsuen Wan Market Street (near Yan Chai Hospital), Sha Tin Center Street (near Sha Tin Central Bus Station) and Waterloo Road/Hereford Road in Kowloon.

Upon completion of the trial, the administration said it will review the effectiveness of the device and consider whether it will continue to be used in the future.

Studies have shown that “pedestrian distraction,” including smartphone use, is a good thing Factor in between 12 and 45 percent of pedestrian deaths on the roads.

Statistics also show, that worldwide, about 270,000 pedestrians die on the roads every year, which is one-fifth of the deaths on global roads.

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