Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Russian Trampoline That Helps Commuters Bounce Happily to Work; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Many Ingenious Attempts by Cities to Speed Pedestrian Traffic into and out of Town the Naked Eye

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Russian Trampoline That Helps Commuters Bounce Happily to Work; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Many Ingenious Attempts by Cities to Speed Pedestrian Traffic into and out of Town the Naked Eye

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi

In 2012, this trampoline was installed in Nikola-Lenivets, near Moscow, and quickly became so popular, plans were immediately drawn up to expand the scheme for commuters to travel into and across busy cities.

As early as 1871, inventor Alfred Speer patented his "moving sidewalk" that he believed would revolutionise pedestrian travel in New York.

His system was based on three belts running parallel to each other, each moving a little faster than its neighbour.

You could step on the first one moving at just 3mph quite easily, making it safe to then move on to the next one, moving at 6mph, and the next one at 9mph. You could increase or diminish your rate of transit at will.

Speer even planned to place seating at convenient points on the travelling platforms, for your added comfort.

The 1893 Exposition in Chicago introduced 4,500 feet of movable sidewalk primarily aimed at ferrying passengers arriving by steamboat. They would disembark and be carried down the pier, delivered to the shore and directly to the Exposition entrance.

By 1900, the Paris Exposition created its own impressively large mobile walkway, enthusiastically described in the New York Observer: "It is possible to proceed to a distant exhibition by travelling sidewalk, and thousands avail themselves of this means of transportation.

"The circuit of the exposition can be made with rapidity and ease by this contrivance.

"It also affords a good deal of fun, for most of the visitors are unfamiliar with this mode of transport, and are awkward in its use".

The travelling pavement came into vogue again in the 1920s, when the city of the future was predicted as glossily sleek and automated. But then the world became preoccupied with the Great Depression and the Second World War.

In the 1950s, Goodyear drew up different schemes to adapt the walkways for a radically re-imagined New York subway system.

Publicity suggested: "Why not conveyor belts, huge moving sidewalks to zip pedestrians along from place to place? "These 'speedwalks' are not supersonic but steadily moving (in contrast to cars, buses and taxi cabs mired in traffic jams) and are just the device to come to our rescue. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.