Ask anyone that’s lived in a busy city and they’ll tell you that navigating a crowded sidewalk can be a pain. Add in the fact that a large portion of the population now does this while multitasking on their smartphone and the situation suddenly goes from bad to worse.
A large city in China, however, has come up with a simple solution they thought would help ease the frustration. Chongqing, a municipality of around 28 million in southwest China, recently introduced separate walking lanes for people using mobile devices.
Certain pathways in the city’s entertainment district are clearly marked with icons and writings on both the sidewalk and on nearby signs. Nong Cheng, a spokeswoman for the district’s property management company, said there are lots of elderly people and children on their streets and walking while interacting with a mobile device could cause unnecessary collisions.
It’s a lighthearted way to remind pedestrians to be mindful of others around them but in reality, it’s proving to be little more than a lesson in futility.
Cheng added that many pedestrians have been stopping to take photos of the markings and signs but most don’t seem to be following the guidelines.
The inspiration for the idea came from an unlikely source: a television program. Back in July, National Geographic performed a similar stunt in Washington D.C. as part of a segment for an upcoming behavioral science show called Mind Over Masses.