Sunday, December 28, 2008

London Double Decker Bus Design Competition

Today most large cities have focused on articulated buses to carry more passengers. While London (although they do have some bendy buses) has decided to evaluate new double decker designs. Good for them!

The main design dictate for the new London bus must be the open platform at the back because all the designs in this competition have it. The open platform forces certain mechanical restraints on the design: The engine can't be at the back because that's where the platform and stairs must go. And because the entrance is at the back, a conductor will be needed to collect fares.

In my opinion the design should also include a forward mounted drivers compartment with a bonnet for an unobstructed 180° driver's view.

Let's take a look at the 2 winners announced this month:

The AM/Foster. It imitates the look and function of a Routemaster worse than the way a new MINI imitates the old Mini. It's not bad. It's just too Toy Town. I can't immagine anyone being too happy about driving or riding in one of these.

However, I do like the curved rear of the bus. And since an open platform and stairs are the most essential parts of the design, the rear end of the AM/Foster night be a good starting point for a new bus design.

The Capoco Bus takes every element of the Routemaster design and smooths or rounds it. It's the Fiat Multipla(1998-2003) of buses. It's bug ugly. It might help a little if the windscreen (such a large piece of laminated glass is impractical anyway) was replaced with a proper drivers cab and bonnet. But now it looks a little bit like the LA:UK or the Welcome Back. And I like the Welcome Back much more than the Capoco.

Let's take a look at 2 of the runners up announced this month:

The LA:UK looks too much like a warmed-over Routemaster, and it would suffer in comparison.

The Welcome Back has taken the Routemaster and given it a stronger and more confident stance without changing the proportions. Nice! I say slap some round headlights on the Welcome Back. Fit the interior with cloth cushion seats. Ditch the vaguely Union Jack hubcaps. This is the best design. Not original, but the best.

The two winning designs will go to a manufacturer, yet to be chosen, who will have licence to include the best elements from both designs.

Photos from The Guardian
Thank you Dezeen

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