New Tube for London
PriestmanGoode worked with Transport for London and London Underground to design the vision for the New Tube for London, the next generation deep level underground trains for the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City Lines.
The main challenge with a project like the New Tube for London is to deliver something new, innovative and fit-for-purpose whilst maintaining some notion of heritage. It was also important to bring this future New Tube vision to life as a means of engaging with the public as well as with internal stakeholders. Ultimately, the aim of the project was to deliver a design vision that London Underground could include as part of the tender process for manufacture, to ensure that proposals were based on their specific requirements, rather than a standard vehicle. Investment in design at the very earliest stage of a project can provide significant time and cost savings throughout the rest of the development process.
Developing the future vision for the New Tube for London was the result of a close collaboration with our design team and the design team at Transport for London. We used a wide range of skills: from branding to industrial design, vehicle design, Colour, Material and Finish, as well as visualisation. Our main goal was to create a vision that would embody the future of innovative public transport, but would be rooted in the great history of iconic transport designs that are so prevalent in London, such as the London black cab or the Routemaster bus. Our starting point therefore was to define London-ness, both through the city’s transport and its architecture, looking at the past but more importantly at the future, and new contemporary definitions of London. This enabled us to create a palette of colours, materials and finishes for the new design.
“These innovative, eye-catching and sleek new trains will be vital for the continued modernisation of London Underground”.
Boris Johnson, Former Mayor of London
Meanwhile, our industrial designers worked on the vehicle itself, defining both the exterior and the interiors. New features included a walk-through design, air-cooled cars, digital screens and wider doors. The carriages will increase capacity by 60% at peak times and will deliver an enhanced passenger experience for London’s travelling public and visitors. We kept a user-centric approach to the design process, focusing both on the experience for passengers as well as those involved in cleaning maintenance.
Videos were produced at different stages of the project aimed directly at those involved in service and maintenance to ensure that stakeholders were kept informed and involved throughout the design process. This extra level of internal engagement helped to inform and refine the design outcomes. The public video on YouTube has had 3.8 million views and we believe that this illustrates the power of great design to engage with something the public cannot yet see, enabling Londoners to connect emotionally with the project. This was important in a project where the public needed to keep faith and see that the future would bring improvements to their service. The visualisations were also shown through a live public exhibition within the underground concourse at Kings Cross station to communicate the innovations to passengers.
Best Product Design – Commercial & Industry, London Design Awards
Best Automotive and Transportation Design, IDEA Awards