And finally…University creates stairs ‘texting lane’


Coming to an office near you? An American University has revealed a novel way to combat one of the scourges of twenty first century living (and working) by creating a “texting lane” on its stairs.

Sick of SMS-induced collisions, Utah Valley University hopes that the texting thoroughfare will provide those of its students who can’t tear themselves away from their phone screens, even while ‘on-the-hoof’, the chance to keep themselves and others safe –and less irritated, presumably.

The university spokeswoman Melinda Colton said that the bright green lane painted on the stairs to the gym was intended as a light-hearted way to brighten up the space and get students’ attention.

The university’s creative director, Matt Bambrough, said he designed the graphic mostly to draw students’ attention.

“This design was intended to be visual first and functional second”, he explained.

“In our research, the most successful environmental graphics… match that formula.”

Bambrough added: “This was certainly done in a way that was meant to be fun and not to be a directive of the university.”

“We have 18- to 24-year-olds walking on campus glued to their smartphones, it’s the nature of the world we live in.”

While Utah Valley’s text lane may have been intended as partly tongue-in-cheek, studies have shown that texting while walking can have serious consequences.

More than half of all mobile phone owners have experienced “distracted walking” — bumping into something or someone — according to a recent study.

And each year thousands of pedestrians in America find themselves in hospital due to walking and texting injuries.

As mobile phone usage surged between 2005 and 2010, this number has increased fivefold.

Student Chelsea Meza, 22, said some texting students have used the Utah Valley’s lane. “It’s kind of funny. You walk down the hallway and instead of saying ‘Hi’, everyone is walking and texting,” she said.

Although limited to just one of the campus’ most busy flights of stairs, fellow student Tasia Briggs, 22, said she wouldn’t mind seeing them be adopted throughout the university.

“There’s nothing worse than walking behind someone who’s texting, and you can’t get around them and go anywhere,” Ms Briggs said.

Property managers in the Chinese city of Chongqing did something similar last year with a designated pavement lane for smartphone users.