Routemaster

London, UK
2008

Designed in collaboration with Aston Martin in response to Transport for London’s competition to design a new bus for the capital, the joint first prize winning design challenges preconceptions with a vehicle that is environmentally sensitive, accessible and reinvents a much-loved symbol of London for the modern era. After an intense period of research which included canvassing opinion from passengers, drivers and conductors, the team worked to design a new bus from the inside-out. In doing so, consideration was given to a wide range of issues including layout, use of materials, motive power, passenger experience and the impact of the bus on the environment of the city.

The bus is designed to navigate the dense and varied streets of London, employing innovative technologies to allow for greater manoeuvrability and energy conservation. Optimising safety, the driver’s cabin provides panoramic views as well as incorporating screens to supervise CCTV images and radio communications with the on-board conductor. Much like a car or a building, the design evolved in response to the needs of its users. The layout, lighting and wooden floors are conceived to encourage a spirit of warmth and community. The arrangement of the decks is driven by comfort and particular consideration is given to the selection of reconstituted leather upholstery to create a tactile ‘living room’ feel, especially in the saloon-like lower deck.

The new bus is zero emissions ready, accessible for all and will set new standards for sustainable public service vehicles. Passengers benefit from views from the top of the deck through a glazed roof which incorporates solar cells to absorb sunlight and generate energy. By filtering daylight the internal temperature is well controlled. The bus design re-introduces the rear open access platform that made London’s Routemaster bus so popular up until its withdrawal from general service. This is supplemented by a side door to facilitate access for those with impaired mobility as well as families with young children.