Australia to trial low-level traffic lights so you don't need to look up from your phone

Waiting to cross the road is the perfect opportunity to catch up with social media – but having to look up every few seconds to watch out for the green man is more than a minor inconvenience.

At least, that’s the view of pedestrians in Sydney – which is why the government is spending $250,000 trialing floor-level traffic lights at five sites across the city.

The initiative, which will last for six months, is being introduced as part of the Towards Zero advertising campaign, which aims to highlight the human impact of road fatalities.

In 2015, 61 pedestrians were killed on New South Wales roads — an increase of nearly 50% compared to the year before.

Centre for Road Safety executive director, Bernard Carlon, told Mashable Australia: “Pedestrians are less protected in a road crash, and are therefore more likely to be seriously injured or killed. This is why we need to create a road system that keeps them safe, and this includes situations when they may not be paying attention.

“The lights are aimed at pedestrians using mobile phones who are not looking where they are walking. They will serve as another layer of warning on top of existing lights and signals.”

Last year, the Austrian city of Vienna introduced same-sex couples on its pedestrian crossings in a bid to boost road safety and promote the Eurovision song contest.