It may come as no surprise to regular passengers on the London Underground's Circle Line that a moving walkway would get them to their destination in less time.
An architecture firm has designed just that: a travelator to replace the 17-mile circuit of trains.
Architects at NBBJ said they came up with the travelator in response to a challenge by a think tank to invent something to improve daily life in London. They said the travelator would not only improve journey times and increase the number of people able to travel on the line, but has an added health benefit for commuters.
It takes about an hour for tube trains to circuit the Circle Line at present. The travelator would reduce that time by several minutes by not stopping at stations. Instead, passengers step onto 'feeder' walkways that move at 3pmh. This would feed into a slow lane, that accelerates to 6mph and 9mph in lit tunnels.
The firm said there would also be a 'middle lane', coloured orange, with a top speed of 12mph, and a 15mph red 'fast lane'.
There are already travelators at Bank station that have existed for 55 years. The NBBJ project is more like the 'trottoir roulant rapide' that opened at Montparnasse station in 2002. It had to be slowed from 6mph to 3mph after passengers were repeatedly injured trying to get off the faster part of the walkway.
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