Study Points Out Obvious, Distracted Walking Causes Major Problems in New York City

We've all done it. You turn up your headphones or start texting while walking, then head down the block just as you always do. You jay-walk across the street and nearly get mowed down by a taxi or bus. Maybe you have had a close call, maybe you haven't, but a new study by Corey Basch, a public health professor at William Paterson University, suggests that nearly half of pedestrians are distracted.

[Basch] studied more than 21,000 pedestrians at five dangerous and busy Manhattan intersections and discovered that nearly half crossing on a “DON’T WALK” signal and nearly one-third of pedestrians crossing on a “WALK” signal were wearing headphones, talking on a mobile phone, and/or looking down at an electronic device. The most prevalent distracted behavior was headphone use, a behavior that impairs the ability to register important audible warnings.

The problem is not necessarily a new one, but one that is getting more attention in recent years. In 2014, AT&T setup a $50,000 challenge for developers who could make an app to effectively alert pedestrians before entering an intersection in order to increase safety awareness. The winner of the grand prize is an app called Tug that, when used in conjunction with smart traffic light signals, flashes a red stop sign on nearby phones when the intersection changes to red.

via CBS News

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