Possible wants councils to consider electric driverless shuttle service
An alternative vision for how Hammersmith Bridge might look. Picture: Possible
May 19, 2023
A climate action charity campaigning to keep Hammersmith Bridge car free is proposing a shuttle service using small electric driverless “pods”.
To back up its proposal, Possible has produced images of the pods, which would hold up to ten passengers and would enable people unable to walk or cycle over the bridge to travel easily between Barnes and Roehampton to the transport connection and amenities of Hammersmith Town Centre for the first time since the bridge closed in 2019.
The charity says this would re-establish a vital public transport link without the need for more expensive engineering work to the Grade II Listed structure.
The proposal would also involve a restructuring of bus routes to ensure that continuous journeys could operate smoothly, and with stabilisation works to the bridge making it safe for walking and cycling due to complete in the next few weeks, the plans would also introduce a two-way protected cycle lane that would run across the bridge adjacent to the pods and would ensure that people could still walk across the bridge.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council says that it is about to submit a planning application for the Foster Cowi proposals for a double decker structure which would allow a full reopening of the bridge including for buses to take place while sections are taken away for a full refurbishment. Engineers for the project say this work would be required regardless of whether the bridge opens to motor traffic or not because the metal structure of the bridge is so degraded, it would eventually need to close again.
The bridge would not carry conventional cars or buses. Picture: Possible
Backing up its idea, Possible says," We have created an alternative proposal for Hammersmith Bridge which has been developed with highways engineers and autonomous vehicle manufacturers, and is based on over a year of engagement with local communities and stakeholders on both sides of the river to explore local transport needs.
" Cost estimates for reopening the Victorian bridge to motor traffic have climbed to hundreds of millions of pounds, while this alternative proposal would cost less than £10 million. In fact, we estimate that the total costs of delivering our alternative scheme would be less than what has already been spent by authorities on trying and failing to reopen the bridge to cars.
" With still no funding agreement in sight for the hugely costly work which would be needed to reopen Hammersmith Bridge to cars, it’s long past time for authorities to take other options for meeting local transport needs seriously.
" Our proposal looks to the clean transport technologies of the future, and could genuinely be in operation serving local communities within months."
The charity is now calling on Hammersmith & Fulham and Richmond Councils to agree to a full feasibility study for its car-free alternative and is asking local people to voice their support. If you like the sound of their proposal, you can sign Possible's petition here.
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