A texting lane might sound unfamiliar, but it’s basically exactly as it sounds. It’s a lane specifically set aside for those who are walking and texting at the same time.
In today’s fast-paced world, chronic phone users are a common sight. They are usually multitasking — or at least trying to — while hunched over staring at their phone screens or mobile devices, possibly rapid-firing their fingers over the screens in quick succession and walking at the same time. Sometimes these people stumble, run into other objects (or people), or stop clogging up the middle of a space, unaware of the movement around them.
Utah Valley University created a texting lane in a staircase of the school’s new Student and Wellness Center for texters and those around them, but it’s not for the obvious reasons that people might think. Matt Bambrough, the university’s creative director and mastermind behind the texting lane, wanted to grab people’s attention with its design. He told Fusion about his idea and what the texting lane was all about.
“You have 18-24-year-olds walking down the hall with smartphones, you’re almost bound to run into someone somewhere; it’s something we’re dealing with in this day and age. But [preventing collisions] isn’t the reason we did it—we did it to engage the students. It’s meant to be there for people to look at and enjoy.”
The staircase is divided into three lanes with bright green lines and lettering. The words read, “walk,” “run,” and “text.”
According to Fusion, students with their faces glued to their smartphones are a problem at times, especially when they walk slow and others are in a hurry to get to class. Sometimes the students run into other students and are simply a nuisance. One student, Chelsea Meza, has seen some students who are using their phones actually use the texting lane on the staircase.
Brambrough would like to see those who are texting and walking to put down their cell phones and look around them more often, but in today’s world, he doesn’t see that happening.
“It’s the nature of the world we live in,” he said. “I’ve texted and walked before; it’s not against the law.”
The texting lane at Utah Valley University wouldn’t be the first time a texting lane was used in public in order to at least get smartphone users out of the way if they’re not going to pay more attention. According to the Associated Press, the Chinese city of Chongqing made a type of texting lane on sidewalks for smartphone users only.
[Photo by AP Photo/Rick Bowmer]