LU signs up Atkinson for new safety system

LONDON UNDERGROUND is to have an entirely new range of computerised signs to improve passenger awareness of unsafe situations. Design is by Atkinson Design Associates.

The Leicester group, which won an unpaid pitch against at least three other consultancies, has designed an electronic sign system described by Atkinson design director Paul Atkinson as “an industrial architecture system”.

Atkinson’s Light Emitting Diode (LED) will convey information at key points of the underground system. The system consists of one product which can be used in up to 20 variations.

The new LED will have three colours, replacing London Underground’s existing one-colour system, and increased dot matrix size.

“The problem with the existing computer network is that it has no family identity as there is a different architectural inheritance for each product,” says Atkinson.

“The system will be fitted into all station entrances, so if a station is closed it will say `Do Not Enter’,” he adds. Signs will be at the top of escalators giving information on tube conditions and escalator efficiency. They will also be used on platforms and in ticket halls. On-platform ticket information about train times will be replaced by the LED.

“Any crisis or delay will be conveyed instantly on a network-wide basis – so if there is an accident on a line or a fire there will be good communication,” adds Atkinson. The new concept will be designed to conform to London Underground’s corporate policy for industrial design, which will affect its casework.

A feasibility study is expected in six weeks and implementation throughout the London Underground is planned for April 1996.

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