Citymapper, which is just over five years old, has become the go-to mobility app for the majority of the world's major cities. It's strength lies in its accuracy and integration: the app parses local data and always seems to deliver the fastest route, even in comparison to its leviathan, data-rich competitors – Google Maps and Apple Maps. Having always focused their attention on public transport, as opposed to cars and taxis, Citymapper has become embedded into the way large amounts of urbanites navigate cities both familiar and foreign. As of today, they are building buses—and bus routes—of their own.
Transport For London: The Latest Architecture and News
The latest chapter in the saga of London's Garden Bridge, which has seen counter proposals and reactionary follies alike, has revealed major concerns relating to its funding mechanisms. As reported by the Architects' Journal, new findings from the United Kingdom's National Audit Office (NAO), which has studied the decision taken by the Department for Transport's decision to grant £30 million ($37 million) of funding to the Garden Bridge Trust, has discovered that the "sum [£30 million] was provided following a commitment from [the] then Chancellor George Osborne, and despite the DfT’s conclusion that there was ‘a significant risk that the Bridge could represent poor value for money’."
Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge project has been under fire since plans were announced in 2013, drawing skepticism of the fairness of the competition process, and even being called “nothing but a wasteful blight.” Last month, London's new mayor Sadiq Khan gave a lukewarm endorsement of the project, noting that since £37.7m of the £60m allocated by the government has already been spent, scrapping the project now would end up costing taxpayers more than going forward with it.
The current predicament has inspired architects Allies and Morrison to design an alternative option – one that could both save the taxpayers money and create a new greenway spanning the Thames. Many of the complaints directed toward the original design have been associated with the cost of building a new bridge that would serve limited transportation needs; Allies and Morrison eliminate this issue by simply placing a garden pathway onto an existing piece of infrastructure, the nearby Blackfriars Bridge.
London-based practice Studio Egret West have developed designs for future London Underground stations which centre on a holistic approach to infrastructure design. The so-called 'Station Design Idiom' is, according to the designers, "deliberately wide-ranging." As a manifesto, it "covers small interventions, like repainting, through to full station refurbishments and new builds" and "complements existing London Underground standards and guidance and is the first port of call for all design decision-making on the network."
Thomas Heatherwick's controversial Garden Bridge in London has regained popular support amongst officials after a significant cut in funding. The Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge program, which was approved last year – has reduce the amount of taxpayer money from £30 to £10 million, alleviating concerns over public cost. Now, all that's needed for the project to start construction is an approved amendment to the site's lease in Lambeth. It is expected to break ground next year, despite lingering concerns over maintenance costs and use restrictions.
As reported in the Architects' Journal, Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge programme, which was approved last year – have ordered a review into the procurement process leading up to Heatherwick's selection to design a new bridge spanning the Thames. Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, will "review of the overall process of procurement of the design contracts, the findings of which [will be published] in full." This statement follows the revelation that Heatherwick Studio’s estimated total price (which was wrongly redacted in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the AJ last February) "was far higher than its two fellow bidders in the 2013 invited concept design competition." Full information about the request is detailed here.
According to a document published last month, London's aspiration to become "a great cycling city" has taken one step closer to reality. The office of the Mayor of London has approved plans to develop Europe's longest segregated bicycle lane through the centre of the city following modifications to an original plan that drew sharp criticism from residents and commuters. The new plans, which have been supported by a number of private companies and public bodies, aims to maintain vehicular traffic capacity whilst allowing the segregated cycle lanes to cater for a large capacity of cyclists.