Reader William Bray sends along an interesting example of a congested environment that seems like it could benefit from a nudge (or two). Time Out London explains the problem:
Leicester Square to Covent Garden on the Piccadilly Line. It’s the shortest tube journey in town – less than 300 yards long. It’s the briefest tube journey in town – just 45 seconds from platform to platform. And it’s also the most expensive tube journey in town – four quid to travel a quarter of a kilometre. But does this deter thousands of tourists every year from making the trip? Of course not.
London Underground are worried. Tourists are irresistibly drawn to Covent Garden, teeming as it is with fashionable boutiques, silver-faced mime artists and juggling unicyclists. But Covent Garden station is 100 years old, and struggling to cope. There’s no space to install escalators, so every year 16 million people have to fight their way in and out via the lifts and stairs. A major infrastructure upgrade is long overdue.
London has started a public education campaign–”Please don’t follow the crowd” to encourage people to walk between the two stops. Thanks to the sluggishness of those lifts and stairs, the Time Out writer estimates that the tube ride is 50 percent longer than the above ground walk. Bray thinks tourists are the major problem because they navigate the city using the Underground map. At least on the tube they won’t get lost. Bray thinks some more above ground choice architecture might help.
Why not simply colour code foot print trails from Leicester Square tube to Covent Garden Tube to ease congestion and match sign posts with colours of foot print trails (stickers on the ground) to make it easier to walk than get the tube. This would remove the risk so people would automatically choose to walk. This would be a more pleasant experience for the Tourist so they like London more i.e. spend more money or make a return visit and the commuter has eased congestion.
Tags: United Kingdom