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A Potentially Brilliant Idea to Keep Escalator Obstructers to the Right

Because poor etiquette should not be the reason you miss the train. 

Image
Oxfordian/Flickr

It's one of the commuter's biggest frustrations -- getting stuck behind someone who's obstructed the entire width of an escalator.

London-based designer Yoni Alter has an elegantly simple solution. Alter used Photoshop to create mockups of his proposal, shown in the images below. (The specific escalators pictured are from a Metro station in Newcastle, England, but London Tube escalators are essentially the same.) 

Alter's proposal calls for highly visible orange decals that would signal the right side as stationary and the left side as intended for movement. The designer had first tried yellow footsteps, but thought that might be confused with a double yellow line. Alter writes via email that there are already audio announcements and signs reminding people to stand on the right and pass on the left, but neither are effective in an environment filled with advertisements. His bright-colored, conspicuous design, on the other hand, is meant to cut through the "visual noise" at transit centers and transcend language barriers. 

Is this the simple solution busy commuters have been waiting for? Alter thinks so, but Transport for London, the city’s public transportation authority, is not yet convinced. Alter writes, "I had a long and frustrating correspondence with TFL, who said they are aware of the obstruction issue. But instead of considering my proposal, they promised to enhance the signs and announcements." Alter even proposed that he test the decals for a brief period and remove them afterwards himself, but the TFL rejected this idea. 

Alter has not given up and is now appealing to the public. A few days ago, he started a campaign on Thunderclap, a "crowdspeaking" platform where, if enough people pledge support for a cause, Thunderclap will "blast out" a Facebook post or tweet from all the supporters at the same time. Alter hopes that amassing more public support for the design proposal will give it a better chance of getting considered by TFL. With 9 days left in the campaign, the project has  attained 91 percent of the target number of supporters.

The "Stand on right, walk on left" rule is common in various countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. (Australians stand on the left and walk on the right). Alter’s proposal could appeal to commuters worldwide, if only it could catch the London government's interest first. 

Mockup images by Yoni Alter and used with permission.  

Top image: Oxfordian on Flickr 

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