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.

Cold Weather Features

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.