London-based architecture practice NBBJ, the team behind the shadowless skyscraper concept, has revealed a radical rethinking of the London Underground’s Circle Line that promises to spur new ideas for urban mobility.
The Circle Line carries 114 million people each year along its 17 miles of track. Currently able to accommodate eight trains at any one time and reach a top speed of 20 miles per hour, the line is one of the most congested in London, often subject to delays and frequently unpleasant for overheated commuters.
Diagram showing the varying speeds of each travelator in between stations
Using travelators synonymous with the world’s airports, NBBJ’s concept replaces the Underground trains with three side-by-side electronic walkways, moving at varying speeds to take commuters around the famous circular tube route.
Each travelator increases in speed from its adjacent walkway. Commuters would enter at the slowest speed of 3mph and slowly increase their pace by stepping onto adjacent walkways, up to a top speed of 15mph. When added to an average walking pace of 3mph, pedestrians would actually move faster on foot than today’s Circle Line trains, which must stop for boarding at each station. The result would be considerably quicker, more enjoyable and healthier journeys.
This year the Circle Line celebrates its 110th anniversary since becoming electrified. If implemented, this proposal would mark its most significant change ever.
NBBJ was inspired to develop this concept to open new possibilities for putting the fun back into travelling on the Underground, for tourists and Londoners alike. While the Circle Line travelator would likely become one of London’s most efficient and unusual modes of transport, one thing is certain: London requires creative thinking to build a healthy, happy and more liveable city for all.
NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organisations worldwide and designs environments, communities and buildings that enhance people’s lives. Founded in 1943, NBBJ is an industry leader in healthcare and corporate facilities and has a strong presence in the commercial, civic, science, education and sports markets. The firm has won numerous awards and has been recognized as one of the world's "Top Ten Most Innovative Architecture Firms" by Fast Company magazine. NBBJ has more than 750 employees in 11 offices worldwide, including Beijing, Boston, Columbus, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Pune, San Francisco, Seattle and Shanghai. Clients include Alibaba, Amazon, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Kings College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Reebok, Salk Institute, Samsung, Stanford University, Starbucks, Telenor, Tencent, University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust. www.nbbj.com
Press, image and interview requests:
Caro Communications: 020 7713 9388
Jordan Lewis – Jordan@carocommunications.com