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Mobile phones 'banned' in US street experiment

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Washington D.C. may have found a solution to the problem of inconsiderate phone users - streets with designated mobile phone lanes.

Whether it's walking in a zig-zag motion as they stare down at their screens or inexplicably slowing down to take a call, mobile phone users and busy streets don't tend to mix.

But the innovative new experiment by the National Geographic Channel and sanctioned by Washington D.C. City Council may change all that.

It has taken a high street street in the US capital and divided it into two lanes - one for people who want to use their phones as they walk 'at their own risk' and the other for non-mobile phone users.

Pedestrians' reactions to the smartphone segregation are being filmed for a Mind Over Masses series on the channel.

The behavioural science show will "use what we know about human behaviour" to develop "interactive solutions to everyday problems."

Rob Pegoraro, tech columnist for Yahoo.com, spent an hour observing how pedestrians reacted to the new street rules and found:

  • Only a small group of people altered lanes once they saw the stencilled pavement instructions
  • People who weren't already walking with phones in their hand actually get them out to take photos of the signage

It's not the first street experiment to hit the headlines...

CRAZY PAVING

Earlier this year, North East Lincolnshire Council came under fire for installing "hypnotic" paving in the centre of Grimsby.

The work, as part of a £6 million revamp of the town centre, featured grey pattern paving stones that created an optical illusion, which seemed to make the pavement virtually indistinguishable from the road.

It was blamed for causing the fall of a 74-year-old woman who was left with two black eyes and has since been replaced to make the pavement and road more identifiable.

TRAFFIC-FREE SUNDAYS

Love him or hate him, London Mayor Boris Johnson has certainly made Sundays more enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists on London's famous Regent Street, with a ban on vehicles throughout July.

As well as cleaner air, pedestrians benefit from entertainers and pop-up stalls as well as a new theme every week that offers "a mix of installations, performances, exhibitions, film, design, fashion, architecture and food."

CASHLESS

Last month a street in Manchester claimed to be the first to go "cashless".

Shops and bars on Beech Road in Chorlton took part in a day-long experiment that saw them trading without accepting notes or coins.

It was organised by card payment provider Handepay, to see if people were ready to "give-up cash".

However, a manager at restaurant The Lead Station, which refused to participate, told The Manchester Evening News: “We felt it was a bit pointless because we were never going to turn away customers with cash.

“It’s not something we can see catching on anyway, there are a good number of elderly people who live around here who prefer paying with cash."

WHO SHOULD GET THEIR OWN LANES?

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