Any brisk walker out there will understand the frustration of being stuck behind meandering tourists and window shoppers while trying to power to your next meeting on the other side of town. And now the UK city of Liverpool has come up with an ingenious solution, becoming the first city centre in the world to open fast walking lanes.
The move comes after research showed that 47 percent of the nation finds slow walkers the most annoying part of high-street shopping. To be fair, the lanes have been initiated by retailer Argos as part of a publicity stunt, and so far are only being trialled outside the Liverpool One shopping centre for a week, so it's not like there's change on a city-planning level just yet. But it's a promising start.
The fast track lanes have been painted on the pavement, and create a walkway for those who want to power through the shopping centre and dodge the shopping crowd. The hope is that it will reduce frustration for consumers and pedestrians and improve the experience in the shopping centre.
The change can't come soon enough for many of the residents, with research conducted by Argos showing that 69 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed supported the fast lanes, as did 37 percent of over-55s.
While Liverpool is the first city to attempt fast lanes specifically, it's definitely not the only metropolis that's made an effort to make pedestrians' lives easier. Last year, National Geographic created lanes on a city block in Washington DC in the US to divide pedestrians using mobile phones from those who were phone-free.
The move was part of a social experiment and National Geographic was filming people's reactions. Unfortunately all that happened was that passers by stopped and took photos of the markings – yes, using their mobile phones – rather than actually following the guidelines.
An improv group back in 2010 also created lanes for tourists and New Yorkers in Manhattan, as part of a filmed stunt. Again, people mainly just took selfies with them.
The Liverpool trial started on Monday and continues until this Sunday, and it's not clear whether it'll have any more success than earlier attempts. But one thing that is certain is that people want some kind of solution for slow walkers.
"Shoppers have also told us that speed is critical when simply getting around the high street or town centre, so we want to test consumer reaction to a dedicated pavement fast lane," independent retail expert Alastair Moore told The Daily Mail.
"The pedestrianised fast track lane is a great way of making this possible and with nearly 30 million Brits saying they'd like one on their own high street, the pilot is set to be a success."