One Utah university is giving students glued to their mobile phones a place to call their own: a designated lane for texting while walking.
The neon green lanes painted on the stairs to the gym at Utah Valley University were intended as a light-hearted way to brighten up the space and get students’ attention, spokesman Melinda Colton said on Thursday.
The lanes divide the stairs into sections for runners, walkers and texters.
Though the lanes are limited to the school’s recreation centre, 22-year-old student Tasia Briggs wouldn’t mind seeing them catch on across campus.
“There’s nothing worse than walking behind someone who’s texting, and you can’t get around them and go anywhere,” Ms Briggs said.
Utah Valley University is in Orem, 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, and has around 31,000 students.
Student Chelsea Meza, 22, said the lanes touch on a cultural reality in an age of ubiquitous mobile phones.
“It’s kind of funny. You walk down the hallway and instead of saying ‘Hi’, everyone is walking and texting,” she said.
Though the lanes were not designed to curb a texting problem on campus, about half of students who see the lanes really use them, Ms Meza said.
Though Ms Colton says she hasn’t heard of the concept at any other colleges, it is not the first time anywhere that it has been tried.
The Chinese city of Chongqing last year created a smartphone sidewalk lane that was intended to be ironic while also reminding people that staring at phones while on the go can be dangerous.
Officials said they got the idea from a similar stretch of pavement in Washington, D.C., created by National Geographic Television as part of a behaviour experiment. The smartphone lanes attracted attention there too, but people using their phones generally did not notice them.
At Utah Valley University, the idea came from a group of students and staff who wanted to spice up a grey staircase in the new Student Life & Wellness Center, said Sam Hadlock, a student designer on the team.
The typographic design installed June 7 was a favourite of student government leaders. The concept is a bit different from the red-brick-and-ivy aesthetic typically associated with university campuses, said Hadlock, a 26-year-old recent graduate.
“I think it’s fun, and great to see current design on a university campus,” he said.
[“source – telegraph.co.uk”]