Hitchhiking used to be so popular that hitchers in the ’70s would queue up to stick out their thumbs at the most popular spots. No longer. It’s very rare to see a hitcher on the road in Britain today. Strangely enough, though, you still get picked up – my experience of hitching around England, Scotland and Wales is that if you’re in a pair, you get to where you’re going in about the same length of time as it would take to travel by coach. Hitching alone as a woman, it would be hard to drive yourself to where you’re going faster than you get there by thumb – people seem to feel a sense of responsibility for leaving you by the side of the road.
In 2011, Colin Rose and I designed the Liftplaz – our idea for the first in a network of designated hitchhiking spots across the country, featuring shelter and creature comforts for hitchers, as well as cardboard dispensers for making signs, and a range of merchandise.
Our design for a shelter built from surplus road signs was Highly Commended in the RIBA Forgotten Spaces competition. I gave a short presentation hitchhiking at Street Talks in December 2012, which you can watch here.