While London enjoyed hosting the Olympics in 2012 and London Underground had all hands on deck to ensure that transport to the games was flawless, Livework were developing a vision for the tube station of the future. Changes to the London Underground generally focus on new tracks, stations and lines but the existing 200+ stations have not changed much since they were built.
Customer expectations drive change
Underground stations may not have changed much, but customers have. Londoners expect service quality from transport to match the experience they have of top retailers and to be up to date with technological advances. They also expect London to be at the cutting edge and – if not matching Asian standards at least to do things in a distinctly London fashion. Rather like the games.
Developing the commercial potential of a station
Other stations in London have shown how a transport hub can become a destination – St. Pancras being the latest example. This commercial development of the station space provides much needed non-ticket revenue to the rail operator. However an underground station is not the same environment as a large rail-transport hub and has a different type of footfall. What was the right way to develop the tube station?
Stations should reflect their location
Knowing that the challenge for the tube was that there are so many stations and that they all differ in size, location and traveller profile, we felt that the strategy had to be flexible but operate on some core principles. One of these was that the station should reflect and add value to it’s location. We took Old Street Station, in the heart of hipster Hoxton, as an example of how a station could be transformed to be part of the local community and thereby have commercial value to local people and businesses.
The vision becomes a reality
The process of transforming stations across the network has begun. Old Street station has had a makeover. The warren of drab concrete subways have been transformed by new décor and signage that matches the tone of the surrounding area. The retail units within the station complex have also had an update. Cool electric bike shops and pop-up food stalls cater to the busy, commuters who pass through. Our principles of connecting underground stations to their overground surroundings and expanding commercial opportunities put into practice in true London style.