No walkie talkie: 'Experiment' tries separating pedestrians depending on phone use

Could the 'cellphone' and 'no cellphone' lanes work in the UK?

Perpetually incensed by people’s lack of awareness when they’re walking and texting?

Steam slowly emanate from your burning hot ears as a pedestrian just suddenly stops in front of you, for no apparent purpose whatsoever?

If so, you’re either a Londoner or this nifty walkway design, pictured yesterday, is just for you.

Etched on the pavement in Washington DC by National Geographic Channel, the temporary instructions are possibly a much-needed, brilliant idea.  

Forget that the stencilled signs are a stunt for the broadcaster – for a behavioural science experiment – this oh-so-simple method of splitting the walkers and the talkers into three lanes of ‘traffic’ is pure genius.

Why not chalk on a fourth and fifth lane, dedicated to shoppers who’ve loaded up with nine bulbous sales bags each?

The pavement marks ran for about a block, not only splitting mobile phones users from those who don’t count their phone as an appendage but also sub-dividing up those who do choose to be on the phone.

Just need to shuffle over to the right a bit Perhaps the ‘no cellphones’ lane doesn’t need sub-dividing because its users are more alert and considerate of one another?

BBC journalist Mark Easton said today: “The British are ambulatory anarchists.

“[We] have little sense of pavement etiquette, preferring a slalom approach to pedestrian progress.

“When two strangers approach each other, it often results in the performance of a little gavotte as they double-guess in which direction the other will turn.”

And as he suggests, the zig-zagging from one side of the pavement to the other, as we attempt a disjointed waltz, could have been nipped in the bud if only anyone had read the government’s ‘general guidance on walking.’

Pedestrians on the phone “Where possible, avoid being next to the kerb with your back to the traffic,” it states. Who knew?

The proposal for segregated pedestrian lanes isn’t new, though the reason for them might be.

As Mr Easton mentions, in 2000 campaigners tried to establish a fast lane for pedestrians on Oxford Street for those who just wanted to get from A to B without bulldozing into a tourist. They were laughed of the kerb.

However, 14 years ago mobile use was at a fraction of what it is now. With discourteousness on the pavements now at a near epidemic, perhaps National Geographic is on the right track.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'