Philadelphia officials want to combat such painful examples of "distracted walking."

You know how the edges of subway tracks are equipped with textured flooring, so blind people can sense they're in peril of tumbling onto the tracks? Turns out even that is not enough to halt a person who's really bonding with their cell phone.

Sturdy nets, or perhaps a screeching alarm similar to when bowlers go "over the line," might be needed in Philadelphia's train system to save its phone-loving passengers from harming themselves. That's apparent in the below 2011 video recorded by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority that was featured last week in a head-shaking AP story about "distracted walking." It's a reportedly growing scourge, with four times as many people heading to the emergency room than they did seven years ago due to walking blindly into a hard obstruction.

In this particular case, the distracted man fell headlong into the SEPTA track pit and was either knocked senseless or unconscious, because he remained there for several minutes. Luck was on his side, however, as no trains happened to be roaring down the tunnel. He climbed out and survived. Many others haven't, according to SEPTA, which claims that several people have died on train tracks while wearing headphones or clasping cell phones.

Philadelphia's been on the forefront of badgering distracted walkers for their own good. You might remember Mayor Michael Nutter's jokey "E-Lane Initiative" for oblivious texters this April Fool's Day. The city hopes its educational campaigns will assuage the widespread pedestrian suffering afflicting the city; as it stands, about 2,000 people are hit by cars every year in Philly.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  2. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  3. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  4. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  5. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

×