Transport for London should go back to basics

With regard to your Vox Pop (DW 9 August) Transport for London needs to return to first principles.

Its design was originally guided by the philosophy of a seamless journey for the traveller by Frank Pick. When Henry Beck created the original London Underground map, he enabled the masses to navigate the underground maze – simply and easily. It was the design catalyst that enabled the Tube to become an admired model throughout the world.

Over time, the LU visual identity became hidden under a London fog of over-advertising and visual noise. The rolling stock and the stations became a vast under-funded, living museum. The staff were gradually worn down.

Today, the reality is that if Transport for London was merely to provide the basics in terms of design (passenger comfort, ease of navigation, value for money, reassuring communication), it would be seen as a giant step forward. However, it should not be content to just meet expectations.

It should use these basic principles as the foundation to build the most modern rolling stock, the most inspirational stations and the most engaging and effective communication systems. It should use this turning point in its history to engage the best design skills, from infrastructure to product to fashion to graphic design.

Aidan Kirby

Chief executive officer of Asia and Japan

Wolff Olins

London N1

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