Dutch Subway Slide: An Exercise in Efficiency

Leave it to the Dutch to turn a playground feature into public-transit innovation. Next time you’re tripping down a set of dirty, crowded subway stairs in your city, just remember that there’s a better way. The Dutch are calling it a “transit accelerator.”


The Pop-Up City blog writes:

It’s officially called a ‘transfer accelerator’ by Dutch railway maintenance company ProRail, but everyone else would say it’s a slide. An awesome slide. Installed next to a stairway at the newly renovated railway station Overvecht in the city of Utrecht, the slide offers travelers the opportunity to quickly reach the railway tracks when they’re in a hurry. But above all, the slide is a great instrument to make the city more playful. The ‘transfer accelerator’ was designed by Utrecht-based firm HIK Ontwerpers, and installed as the final piece of the renovation of the Overvecht railway station.

Chicago’s CTA Tattler blog is already soliciting opinions from Chicagoans on where they would put one in the Windy City.

So what about New York?

Union Square? Grand Central?  Wall Street?

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  1. Nathan says:

    How long until that thing is crusted with gum?

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  2. Eric M. Jones says:

    In the US they would put barbs and barriers on the slide AND the railing.

    Why do you suppose the top 20′ is covered?

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    • KenP says:

      Probably to make sure that the person and baggage fit before coming up to full speed. Also prevents stupidity like blocking strollers(!), skateboarders and other non-conforming uses.

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  3. Caitlyn says:

    I think this would be fabulous. I also think someone would find something to sue over – pedestrians at the bottom getting knocked over, kids horsing around, creepy guys waiting for women’s wardrobes to malfunction, etc

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    • Brian says:

      That would be an easy fix, they would hire slide guards to regulate the slide users. One at the top would manage the line while one at the bottom would assist riders to move on.

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      • Chris says:

        In the US the guard at the top would force you to strip to your underwear and grope you for bombs.

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      • Greedo says:

        Awesome, so we have to hire 2 people to regulate what stairs do for free.

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      • Jaime says:

        Actually because this is not the US and liability for accidents of a personal nature are rarely compensated with any substancial economic sum I highly doubt that anyone that suffers anything but the most serious of injury would even bother suing due to the higher cost, in time and effort, it would take to take part in such litigations. Furthermore, because here in europe courts generally place what I call the “burden of stupidity” on the user and not provider of a service all that would take would be a “use at your own risk” sign at the entrance to the slide to avert any legal action.

        Thinking that it would take any kind of staffed or video regulation of the use of a slide really underestimates the level of civility we have in europe.

        It is almost always wrong to assume that the result of a sometimes flawed (such as the US cases of civil/non-criminal compensation amounting to small fortunes) judicial system has any standing in the EU before you critisize what could be a cheap and time saving measure. As a professional currently working to improve people’s mobility across most transport modes measures such as this slide in Holland are the kind of out of the box thinking that helps developed countries stay relevant in an increasingly competitive field.

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      • Ian M says:

        …but you could get your pants sued off for calling chiropractors’ claims a bunch of nonsense or other such “slander”. How is that better?

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      • Jaime says:

        So, I am a bit lost as to how your counter-argument is in any way related to what I said but I will take a moment to clarify.
        I was making a point about the difference in the consequences of civil/non-criminal legal action in the US vs EU and that the monetary compensation for defamation/slander/etc is STILL larger in the vast mayority of states within the US than it is for countries within EU I a

        The case you mention I assume is the Simon Singh case where I would like to highlight that the case was dropped after an initial apeal with no financial compensation having ever been stablished. I would also like to point out that not even a year later a virtually identical case (chiropracter vs bad review) took place in San Francisco (Biegels v Norberg)… with the exact same results: case was dropped… although in this case, it was not the judge ruling to protect the writter in question, but the result of the writter in this case removing his negative review and issuing a short rectification. It is worth noting that the article written by Simon Singh was never removed nor appologized for by The Guardian nor Simon in the UK case.

        There exists also, the added difference that the liable party (simon) in the UK case was a professional writting in a mayor publication and the case in the US (Norberg) was a normal man writting a review on the internet. This is relevant because the law treats published opinions from journalism professionals as inherently having an objective pre-disposition whereas the general public writting a review online is generally asumed to be speaking out of personal opinion (which is a make-or-break determinant in slander/defamation cases).

        This all seems to imply that, not only is the EU less aggresive in demanding monetary compensation but that we have a judicial system that does not rely on self-censorship to protect freedom of speech.

        So, to answer your question, I sorta prefer it here (EU) as far as having to go into a court room goes. I won’t go as far as to say its better, but I certainly prefer it.

        P.S: To be fair even in this overly long explanation there are flaws in the assessment because the language used in the EU case was, admittedly, much milder and more refined than that used with the US case. I still think it makes a point on the percieved evils of british slander law compared to what reality is like… particularly if you come from a point of view that assumes the US as having greater freedom of speech due to a VERY slight difference in the slander laws.

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      • Jeff says:

        He’s using sarcasm folks…these is a moronic idea because of our dire need for tort reform and mandatory common sense serum injections in the US.

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  4. Dave Johansen says:

    This is a fun idea, but it can’t be efficient. I imagine it would be hard to get more than 1 or 2 people actively using the slide at any given time. It seems that it would have been more efficient for it to end in a way that was basically already a standing up type of position, but from the image it looks like standing up will be a bit of a choir.

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    • Luke Anderson says:

      Who cares if only 1 person can be on it at a time if it’s 10 times faster? I’d rather wait 10 seconds and ride for 2 than wait for zero seconds and walk down for 20.

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      • JimFive says:

        Then you are not most people. c.f. The people that drive around the parking lot looking for the closest space.

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  5. sterling says:

    Law suit waiting to be filed from American Idiots. However, it’s an incredible idea.

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  6. Xeno says:

    for every adult who wants to be a kid again

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    • James says:

      Again? Some of us never grew up in the first place :-)

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    • potter says:

      So right on. So many nay sayers post on this thing. Let’s all laugh a bit more. Life is good celebrate someone that has the gift of doing fun stuff. When I saw this I wanted to try it out and I am 63. Set your child free the world will be a better place for everyone.

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  7. anon101 says:

    Wouldn’t put this in business districts. Would never use this while wearing nice clothes. Riding a metal slide has got to be disastrous for a suit.

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    • RGJ says:

      @Eric. The first 20 feet are covered so knuckleheads don’t go down standing up. I think this falls into the “only in Scandinavia” category. Fifty percent of Americans don’t have the abs to get up at the bottom, and would be piling up with spiked heeled kidney shots.

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  8. CF says:

    I can imagine the disclaimer on one of these in the US. Would be awesome to slide from top level of Grand Central, but you’d have to avoid the crowd of lawyers waiting for you on the bottom…

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