A viral video showing a traffic light system designed for phone users in Seoul, South Korea has surprised internet users, despite it being two years old.
A video shared by TikTok user @naturalkorean showed a street crossing in Seoul, which includes lights on the floor instead of the traditional traffic lights. An LED light sits at the edge of the sidewalk on the floor, glowing green when it’s time to cross.
“South Korea has streetlights on the floor so you can keep staring at your phone,” she wrote, as she moved the camera to face friends crossing the street.
In just a week the video has gained over 200,000 likes and has seemed to split viewers’ opinions on the technology.
The lights were trialed in the Yeongdeungpo District in 2019, but are seemingly still there. They however are not used widely across Seoul, despite the video causing many to believe so.
They are designed to combat the increasing “smombie” phenomenon in South Korea, a term used for the zombie-like effect smartphones can have on its user while distracted. According to the Pew Research Center, South Korea had the highest smartphone penetration rate in the world in 2017, with around 94% of adults owning one.
According to reports, South Korea also has some of the highest road fatality and injury rates among developed countries.
To fight rising concerns of smartphone users becoming prone to traffic accidents at crossings by not looking up, the Seoul Metropolitan Government introduced the LED-strip lights.
It isn’t the only action taken to prevent smartphone-induced accidents, as reported by WIRED. South Korea also introduced crossings with radar and thermal cameras that detect pedestrians approaching, and use a central control system to set off warning lights to drivers on either side of the crossing.
The system also sends an alert to the pedestrian’s smartphone and projects a warning image on the ground in front of them.
The innovative light system in the viral video has split viewers who were able to applaud the adaptive idea but also highlighted how “sad” it is to see the world become so addicted to technology.
“This is how society should work. Adapt to the people without judging,” wrote one TikTok user.
“Can’t tell if it’s good or bad,” wrote another undecided viewer.
“That’s sad,” commented one user against the system. “Why must people stare at their phones 24/7 while walking.”