Climate Charity Proposes Pod Power on Hammersmith Bridge

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.

Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More

This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.

Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.

We’ve always done that and won’t be changing, in fact we’d like to do more.

However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.

We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.

A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.

One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.

If you do support us in this way we’d be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least one article a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you’d like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.