Texting-and-walking: there’s a lane for that

It happens every day—people walk around, staring down at their smartphones as they text or sift through email or music. It can lead to awkward collisions with people—not to mention garbage cans, benches, and doors—and increase pedestrian traffic.

In an effort to reduce these situations across campus, the university will soon begin installing “text-and-walk” lanes on major pathways between buildings. Similar to bicycle lanes, the “text-and-walk” lanes will run in one direction along the outer edges of the existing pathways.

University officials say the initiative will also help meet the evolving needs of the Northeastern community by providing additional travel options. Still, many text-and-walkers may veer out of these lanes, and university officials are mulling over whether to section off the new lanes with temporary barriers.

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Student volunteers will be stationed at the end of each lane to safely guide text-and-walkers to the next closest lane. Stop signs will also be installed.

To handle situations in which text-and-walkers are wearing headphones or show no signs of stopping, volunteers will also be dispatched with air horns and buckets of confetti to use at their discretion.

This article is part of Northeastern’s 2014 April Fools’ Day coverage.