‘Designer’ transport blueprint hits the road

Designers are calling for greater involvement in the development of the Government’s public transport strategy, as the Design Council unveils its public transport ‘blueprint’ this week.

The Road Ahead, a research project for the Commission for Integrated Transport, aims to ‘shed fresh light’ on the transport debate. It promotes the high-level contribution designers can make in shaping the system around the needs of users, extolling the concept of ‘liveability’.

Ideas have come from groups such as Ingeni, AIG London, Davis Associates, Engine and Raymond Turner and include pavements with fast and slow lanes, smart-card journey planners and bus-stop grocery collection.

‘Design thinking can be a powerful tool to deliver radical solutions to old problems,’ says Design Council director of learning and public services Hilary Cottam, who has been invited to join a CfIT working group as a result of the proposals.

While the specific ideas worked up by Ingeni are intended to garner attention, Jennie Winhall, design manager in the council’s learning and public services team, says their real value is systemic.

‘Design’s prototyping methods mean that new ideas can be tested. You can see the risks and pitfalls early on before the costs of change get too high and this is important where the public sector is involved.’

The Design Council hopes to influence policy-makers and industry in similar fashion to its initiatives in health and education.

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