Londoners! City life getting you down? Morning commute feeling somehow flat, and devoid of joy?
Despair no longer! This just in from Transport for London:
The Bounceway will be the world's longest urban trampoline. This iconic and inclusive new public space in the heart of London will boost fitness and fun, and provide a novel form of transport where the journey is the main event...
I know what you’re thinking (we were thinking it too). But no, this does in fact seem to be a real thing. The Bounceway is one of 10 projects picked to receive funding from the £1.8m “Future Streets Incubator” fund – which, in not so many words, is intended to experiment with cool stuff that doesn't cost much money.
This one's happening with the help of the non-profit Architecture for Humanity (AfH). A few months ago, it put together a presentation, which you can see on Tumblr, and which helpfully expands on the concept:
The Bounce Way [sic] is a linear stretch of trampoline embedded in the ground which provides an alternative environmentally friendly form of transport. The pedestrian will bounce, jump and spring forward. It’s a novel solution to the boredom of the morning commute. It will contribute to the wellbeing of Londoners and visitors to the capital. It’s socially inclusive, a new way to keep fit. Anyone can bounce. And it’s fun.
We’re not entirely convinced that this is an adequate replacement for, say, Crossrail. But, to be fair, it does indeed look fun - although, you do kind of wonder what's to stop someone bouncing off and smacking their face on the distinctly non-bouncy asphalt. Still, these fictitious people seem to be enjoying themselves:
It's clearly early days yet: those pictures suggest they've not even picked a site, and TfL says that any trial of the technology will be “part-funded by a crowdfunding campaign set to launch in late 2014”. Despite this suggestion of a whole new division for TfL, the taxpayer will not be spending millions on its new trampoline.
And if it does happen, says Beth Worth, the AfH trustee who's leading the project, it'll be more about regeneration than transport. “The idea was to come up with something that could be brought to areas that have been struggling,” she told CityMetric. “We want to work with the local community: we don't come in and plonk something in the ground and say be 'grateful to us'. It's part of a broader vision.”
As to what else is included in the Future Streets Incubator programme, it’s a mixture of the artistic and the practical:
- Cloud Consolidator (Fitzrovia Partenrship) – using an online purchasing system, to help businesses share lorry space and so cut the number of HGVs on the roads;
- Parklets (Team London Bridge & the London Borough of Ealing) – turning parking bays in west London into, well, parks;
- Simultaneous Green (London Borough of Richmond upon Thames) - a trial of a new traffic light system, which can detect cyclists at crossings and give them all green lights at once. Hence, we assume, the name.
You can see the full list here.
All images courtesy of Architecture for Humanity. Artists: Monica Landivar & Tom Green.