Anyone who regularly travels by air has likely encountered their share of moving sidewalks. However, outside of airports and a few other contexts, these walkways aren’t a major part of everyday transportation. Might this change in the future?

A recent study done by a research team in Switzerland looked at the potential of moving walkways to serve as an alternative to automobile travel in urban centers. In the study, researchers designed a moving sidewalk system for the Swiss city of Geneva in which moving walkways would replace roads on primary travel routes in the city. The study also estimated the potential capacity of urban moving sidewalks to be 7,000 passengers an hour.

According to the researchers, moving sidewalks could potentially provide a transportation method in urban centers that could avoid some of the problems that motor vehicle travel can pose in such areas.

Of course, bringing moving sidewalks into the urban transportation picture wouldn’t be without its challenges. It would require some major changes in cities. For one, infrastructure changes would be needed, which could be quite expensive. The researchers also noted that culture changes would be needed for such walkways to be accepted as a form of urban travel.

Do you think moving walkways could someday be a major element of travel in big cities, like here in New York City? Would you like to see such walkways available as a transportation option in big cities? What do you think the biggest upsides and downsides would be of using moving sidewalks for urban travel?

Now, like regular sidewalks and any other device designed to handle walking traffic, moving sidewalks could pose safety challenges to walkers when they aren’t adequately maintained. So, how well-maintained moving walkways are is an incredibly impactful thing. This is not only the case for the possible moving walkways of the future, but for the walkways that are currently out there, like moving walkways at airports. Skilled premises liability attorneys can provide individuals who suffered injuries while on a moving walkway that wasn’t properly maintained with explanations of their available legal options.

Source: Seeker, “Fast-Moving Sidewalks Could Shuttle 7K City Dwellers per Hour,” Tracy Staedter, Nov. 28, 2016