'Text' lane created for multi-taskers

A university in the United States has raised eyebrows with its creation of a "texting" lane for students using their mobile phones - a move apparently designed to stop phone users from knocking into other students.

A staircase in Utah Valley University's Student Life & Wellness Center was divided into three lanes marked "text", "walk" and "run", to accommodate the different walking speeds of students, UPI reported.

"When you have 18-to-24-year-olds walking on campus glued to their smartphones, you're almost bound to run into someone somewhere; it's the nature of the world we live in," said Mr Matt Bambrough, the university's creative director.


"But that isn't the reason we did it. We used that fact to engage our students, to catch their attention and to let them know we are aware of who they are and where they're coming from.

"The design was meant for people to laugh at rather than a real attempt to direct traffic flow," he added.

Ms Amy Grubbs, director for campus recreation, said students often cited staircases as being among the "gloomiest" spots on campus.

She told ABC News: "The stairs were just lifeless before. Students don't necessarily abide by it, but it's funny to watch students push their friends over in the right lane as a joke if they're texting.

"Other people don't even see it because they're so consumed in their phones."

There was a similar stunt in the Belgian city of Antwerp when Dutch smartphone firm Mlab created a text-walking lane as a publicity stunt, news.com.au reported.

That said, texting while walking can truly be dangerous.

A report by the US National Safety Council said that during the period of 2000 to 2011, there were more than 11,000 injuries to pedestrians who used their phones while walking.

This article was first published on June 20, 2015.
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