I’m looking forward to the advancement of high-speed rail in Britain – it’s been a long time coming, but it’s the kind of engineering project we need. An entry in our annual design awards recently caught my eye – a speed bump that allows drivers travelling within the speed limit to pass over unimpeded, while speeding cars feel the full effect. It contains non-Newtonian thixotropic fluids, which react to the speed of impact.
James Dyson, Founder, Dyson
Public transport catering is bad – choices are unhealthy, full of salt and fat, and delivered by the same companies. I’d like to design a service that delivers locally sourced, fresh produce relevant to the region people are travelling through. At stations, on trains and in motorway service stations. This service would encourage healthier eating, support local business and promote regional food.
Paul Thurston, Head of design, Think Public
London Underground trains. Travelling on the Tube is like an endurance test. It needs lower hanging handles for the diminutive to cling on to, and seats made of leather or plastic instead of clings-to-filth velour. Crushed commuters with no space to open a paper would love screens showing rolling news (like on Heathrow Express). But I think the most urgent new design feature would be air conditioning, as it’s like the fiery furnace of hell down there on a hot day.
Jen McAleer, Managing director, Start Creative
High-speed rail is the next great opportunity, but the current infrastructure can’t cope with these services. As we’re involved in the development of the high-speed rail link in China, we’re aware of the speed at which systems are introduced there. In tandem with the development of the existing tracks, I would love to redesign UK stations and a seamless integration of other transport modes to facilitate better passenger journeys.
Paul Priestman, Co-founder, Priestman Goode
Trains and airport security systems could do with a massive injection of design, but if there were just one thing designers should tackle, it should be cycling. The benefits of riding a bike work on both macro and micro levels, reducing CO2 emissions and boosting personal health. There would be huge changes that would need to be designed, though – more attentive motorists, proper cycle paths, bigger Velibre programmes, faster pothole response teams and, yes, better-behaved cyclists
Richard Eisermann, Strategic director, Prospect