Mobile phone lanes.
Chongqing, a city in Southwest China, has utilized mobile phone lanes — similar to bike or taxi lanes — so that its phone-addicted citizens can walk around without fear of crashing into other pedestrians or cars.
Specialized transportation lanes are common in many cities, and this appears to be the trend's newest frontier. Engadget reports that the lanes can be found on Foreigner Street, and as the photo below appears to depict, they're the first mobile phone sidewalks in China.
To be clear however, the new signage only appears on a 164-foot walkway in an area of the city known as "Foreigner Street." But it will still potentially serve as a test to determine the feasibility of a more extended network of the marked-up sidewalks.
Additionally, the idea has been tested in limited circumstances before. Earlier this year, Washington, D.C. tested out a similar set-up, but only maintained the border lines for about a day.
This might actually be a good idea. Remember the teenager who fell down a manhole because she was texting? Or the woman who walked straight into a fountain while on her phone? There was also the fellow who narrowly avoided becoming bear food, and the woman who walked straight off a pier because she was too busy rebooking an appointment on her phone.
People are constantly on their phones, and it sometimes comes at their own — or others' — expense. So maybe these mobile phone lanes are a good investment.
Then again, maybe not. It's a sad reflection of just how mobile phone-obsessed our society has become that we now need separate walking lanes just to accommodate our cellular love affairs. Plus, as Engadget points out, National Geographic pulled a similar stunt in July, and it was an utter failure; the people on cell phones mostly ignored the signs because they were — surprise! — too busy staring at their screens.
It remains to be seen whether the idea will make its way over to America any time soon, and maybe that's a good thing. Until then, we can stick to angrily cursing at those cell phone walkers.
Correction: Sept. 15, 2014
An earlier version of this article neglected to identify the limited scope of the cell-phone sidewalks in Chongqing and implied that this was entirely new idea; it had been tested earlier this year in Washington, D.C.