Vox Pop

In light of the High Court decision last week to allow the semi-privatisation of London Underground, what could the design industry do to improve it?

‘Despite its negative publicity, London Underground has always set high standards for design. However, it does need to establish a very clear demarcation between its own train and station operations and those of the Public Private Partnership infrastructure companies.’

Mike Denny, Director, Roundel

‘We’ll never know the best way to finance the London Underground, even after the event. And most Londoners don’t care. We just want a decent service. The key to an acceptable solution is identifying what the issues are – with contractors, managers, financiers, consumers, trade unions and the Government – and working to resolve them. That’s a communications job.’

Clare Fuller, Director, Bamber Forsyth

‘I can’t confess to being a regular Underground user, but certain memories linger on indelibly: the heat, claustrophobia, toxic atmospheres – the list could go on. On the positive side, not much needs doing to the corporate identity – indeed, it’s a classic. So now I’m left wondering what Frank Pick might say. He recognised the value of consistency within the total mix. Today, we have the inconsistency of a few beautiful stations totally out-weighted by the unpalatable ones. Naturally, the semi-privatisation of trains and tracks does not offer endless scope to improve the quality of the life down there. But, it will go a long way if designs are kept clear, simple and airy.’

Alex Maranzano, Chairman, Minale Tattersfield & Partners

‘The major influence design can have is to provide a commonality of infrastructure that allows passengers to move easily within, and between, networks in a fully integrated transport system. This could manifest itself in numerous ways: dedicated platforms for boarding and leaving the train carriages that would reduce dwell times and platform congestion, more open carriage interiors with devices such as flip-up seats to anticipate increased crowds during commuter hours, common queue management systems, a commonality of information graphics which promote spatial awareness within labyrinthine Underground stations, and common ticketing and information systems that give access and updates across the London Underground transport network.’

Ian Scoley, Director and Head of Transport, Priestman Goode

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