University in Utah Installs 'Texting Lane' on Stairs

PHOTO: Utah Valley University put texting-and-walking lanes in their wellness center. UVU Student Life & Wellness Center
Utah Valley University put texting-and-walking lanes in their wellness center.

The days of bumping into texters on staircases are over at Utah Valley University -- at least in theory.

The university decided to divide its stairs into three neon-green-striped lanes -- one for walkers, one for runners and one for texters, director for campus recreation Amy Grubbs told ABC News today.

“The stairs were just lifeless before,” Grubbs said. "Students don’t necessarily abide by it but it’s funny to watch students push their friends over in the right lane as a joke if they’re texting.

“Other people don’t even see it because they’re so consumed in their phones,” she added.

Putting the lanes on the stairs was partly tongue-in-cheek, she said. But it also was intended to make the space more aesthetically pleasing for students. The Student Life & Wellness Center building is just a year old, but Grubbs said the dreary color on the inside needed change.

“We did a lot of surveying with the students for what areas were the gloomiest and the staircases were often talked about,” she said.

“Now, that’s definitely not the case,” she added.

The changes to the stairs were designed by the school’s marketing department to appeal to the student population that Grubbs said is “constantly texting.”

But the school was not the first to get the idea. In 2014, a Chinese city installed smart phone lanes that separate cell phone users and other pedestrians. And the person behind those lanes told The Associated Press he got the idea after National Geographic Television conducted a behavioral experiment in Washington, D.C., using the concept.

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