Lights installed in footpaths at Little Collins Street and Swanston Street will warn pedestrians where footpaths start and finish, even when their attention is focused downwards.
With an increase in the number of pedestrians using their phones and not paying attention to traffic, the Transport and Accident Commission (TAC) believes the red-turning-green footpath lights will make pedestrians more away of their surroundings.
“There is growing evidence that using your phone as a pedestrian can lead to serious injuries, so we need everyone to focus on their surroundings and not their mobile phones,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan.
“These lights will remind people to stop at the red light, look up and pay attention to the traffic around them.”
The initiative was launched earlier this week in partnership with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to ensure people heading to the festival remain safe on the roads.
The lights will remain on at all hours and will also be supplemented by an increase in the number of TAC lollipop people and green crossing chaperones, during a 12 month trial.
After this time, the TAC and other road safety agencies will assess the effectiveness of the initiative.
A similar strategy has been implemented in the German cities of Augsburg and Cologne, while Sydney last year announced a six month trial of “embedded” lights in five unspecified locations.