There are bike lanes, sidewalks, and now there’s even a cell-phone lane on Foreigner Street in one of China’s major cities, Chongqing City. The street is divided into two halves, one marked, “No cell-phones”, and the other marked, “Cell-phones, walk at your own risk”. This lane was made in order to reduce collisions in an area with a high number of tourists, elderly people, and children, according to the translation of a Chinese news article. Yet, according to Time, Nong Cheng, a spokeswoman for Chongqing City, clarified that the cell-phone lane was meant to be satirical, underlining the dangers of texting and walking. Maybe this will stop people glued to their cell-phone from bumping into everyone as they walk, maybe it will just give all of us non cell-phone addicts a laugh, watching all of the cell-phone junkies bump into each other, or perhaps it won’t work at all.
Chongqing’s cell-phone lane was inspired by National Geographic’s recent experiment in Washington, D.C for an upcoming TV series called “Mind Over Masses”. They created two lanes, one for those on their cell-phones and one for non cell-phone users. The results were far from hopeful. Not surprisingly, many of the cell-phone users didn’t even notice the markings for their own lane, making the cell-phone lanes useless.
So, what is the point of this cell-phone lane on Foreigner Street if the ones who are supposed to be using it don’t even notice it? According to Business Insider, one user on a Chinese social forum, Weibo, doubts the practicality of the cell-phone lane, asking, “Is the goal here to encourage still more people to use their cell-phones while walking?”
In a world running on technology, cell-phone lanes seem to be the next step in transportation safety. China is leading the way in transportation safety at the same pace they are leading the technological world. However, if these safety measures are to be practical and effective, they will have to be made known to all of those cell-phone users out there who don’t take the time to look up, or down, and read the writing on the pavement.