Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Why doesn't D.C. install piano stairs in the Metro? (video)

June 22, 2011 - 10:56 AM
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As Washington D.C. adds millions of dollars of renovations and considers the need for more Metro stations, perhaps WMATA should consider the virtues of these "piano stairs" in the Odenplan station of Stockholm, Sweden. In 2009, the station's normal dirty, lackluster set of stairs were replaced with long black and white strips designed to resemble a piano's keys, which would create music as passengers walked up and down the stair case.

Fun, creative, and laced with an implicit benefit--these piano stairs may motivate people to choose walking up stairs over standing on the escalator, a distinct health benefit. This video exploded onto the Internet a couple years ago, but given D.C.'s focus on renovating its Metro and on health, it's worth revisiting.

Considering that our capital is fraught with aging escalators and our nation is fraught with obesity, might this idea be worth considering? Our First Lady has emphasized we should all be walking more through her anti-obesity Let's Move campaign, after all.

According to this video from YouTube user Rolighetsteorin, 66% more people chose the piano stairs than the escalator next to it compared to the days when commuting didn't inspire the sound of music. Interestingly, the idea comes from the people behind the "Fun Theory," which offers a variety of creative solutions. And the real people behind it? It's an initiative from Volkswagen--a little counterintuitive for a car company to create a video about how to walk more, isn't it? Then again, music and fun always make for great PR.

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