Tel Aviv tries out new crosswalk lights for cellular addicts

PHOTO: Reuters

TEL AVIV - Israel's bustling business capital wants to stop "smartphone zombies" in their tracks.

Tel Aviv has placed ground-level LED lightstrips, which turn red and green, at a central crosswalk, hoping to catch the attention of pedestrians so engrossed in their mobile devices that they don't look up before stepping into the road.

Similar trials have been carried out in Singapore, Australia and Germany.

Tomer Dror, head of Tel Aviv's traffic management division, said walkers have been noticing the lightstrips, which began operating several days ago.

But Alex Shneider, a 32-year-old biologist who crossed the intersection on green while looking at his phone, said he never saw the signal.

"I was too occupied on the phone itself and I wasn't paying attention to the light," he said - after nearly bumping into a Reuters TV cameraman filming at the junction.