If you or somebody you know has ever been waiting for the evening train home for more than, say, ten minutes, you’ve probably been stricken by a condition that affects millions of commuters every day: boredom. Symptoms of boredom include an urge to pace back and forth, a blank, glassy stare, and a marked loss of interest in activities you might have once enjoyed, like playing Angry Birds.
Never fear, however, because transportation researchers around the globe are making progress in the elimination of boredom every day, and a recent breakthrough from China offers hope: platform-mounted punching bags. Commuters at a Shanghai subway station are encouraged to hook, jab, and roundhouse kick those rush-hour doldrums away at oversized boxing bags.
Although we’d like to believe that this is a clever ploy on the part of Chinese urban planners to give tired and stressed workers a chance to vent, it’s actually a marketing stunt by Adidas, whose slogan printed on the bags invites commuters to “come and have some punch!” Hey, we’ll take it.
The subway doesn’t have to be a bore, and cities around the world are chipping in to re-imagine public transportation in fun and quirky ways. Just check out the playground slide entrance to one subway station in the Netherlands, Stockholm’s musical stairway, or the swings installed on a San Francisco BART train.