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60 Second Idea

Why we should have three-lane pavements for pedestrians

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week criminal psychologist Adrian Raine proposes a better way to help you get from A to B.

Have you ever been stuck on a pavement between slow pedestrians who stop you getting past. Those slow coaches waste our time and reduce productivity, and they drive me mad. The solution? Pavements should be sectioned into three lanes: slow, middle and fast – just like motorways.

Slow lanes are for the elderly, child strollers umbrella holders, pan handlers, the inebriated and those dreadful cellphoners who crawl along and then stop dead right in front of you.

The middle lane is for your average pedestrian, but if they hog that lane for more than 10 seconds they get ticketed by pedestrian wardens – a new workforce that would reduce unemployment. The fast lane is for people in a hurry, but there’s no fines for speeding because people need to get a move on in life.

Pedestrians are equipped with deafening horns to hoot tardy pedestrians out of their way. And finally it’s three strikes and you are out – after three tickets you are banned for life from the pavement, and you have to take a door-to-door taxi to wherever you want to go.

You can listen to Adrian discuss his idea with primate anthropologist John Mitani and human rights advocate Kavita Ramdas in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more 60-second ideas.

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