London Navigator

Surrey, UK
Filed under:  Trucks
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The "London Navigator" has been conceptualised as a spiritual successor to the now classic Routemaster bus. The Routemaster is regarded as one of the key recognisable icons of London. It was felt that an equally distinctive replacement for the Routemaster is required to retain this iconography; a red bus that can only be associated with London, is easily distinguishable from the standard double-decker or bendy bus, and is quintessentially British. The overall approach has been to produce a unique and recognisable bus; a functional yet characterful new icon for London.

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Design requirements checklist:
a) The design is a red double decker bus with one internal staircase - please see later illustrations.

b) The bus includes an open access platform at the rear near-side corner, plus an automatic double-door located immediately behind the near-side front wheel.

c) The bus allows for the inclusion of a second crew member, and incorporates a conductor-only foldable seat at the front entrance, for use when required.

d) Total seated capacity - please see previous table.

e) All compulsory elements of the Vehicle Specification Guidelines have been adhered to - please see previous table for further details.

f) The bus allows for a low-floor design by utilising individual in-wheel electric regenerative hub motors at the rear axle, and thus negating the requirement for a large transmission tunnel from engine to rear wheels.

g) All features included in the bus design have either featured in one form or another on buses currently in production, or are existing technologies that can be readily adapted / incorporated into such a bus design.

TECHNOLOGY: The ‘London Navigator’ features a lightweight monocoque aluminium space frame chassis, with bonded and rivetted aluminium sheet panelling, plus select fibreglass bodywork. The bus has been designed to accommodate a variety of power units and fuel sources.

The proposed illustrated hybrid vehicle utilises a 4.8-litre engine running off bio-diesel, powering the 2 rear axle in-wheel electric hub motors. Such electric motors are very efficient, reduce weight and cost by omission of a transmission, and are easier to produce/replace than mechanical/hydraulic systems (again cost effective).

Energy is regenerated through braking and suspension, and is stored in lithium-ion batteries located alongside the rear wheels and under the rear stairwell (where the bio-diesel tank and A/C unit are also housed). Such technology could provide a 30%-40% lower fuel consumption over similar diesel powered buses. Additionally, biofuels are widely accepted as more environmentally friendly and far less toxic/polluting that standard petrol/diesel fuels.

STYLING: I have strived to retain some of the main design features of the classic Routemaster bus, but with a contemporary, fresh approach. This includes the overall curvature, seen at both the front end (flowing from the light housing, over the wheelarches), and the curve over the roof line down to the rear. The most prominently recognisable feature of the design (included from both a functional and stylistic point of view) is the divided cocoon-like drivers cab, exposing the nose on the near-side of the bus. The design of the cab allows for a clear, unobstructed field of view for the driver both forward and sideways.

ACCESSIBILITY: Special consideration has been made to allocate for disabled passengers by incorporating an automatic wheelchair ramp operated by the driver from within the cab. A designated wheelchair bay is located immediately within the front double-door entrance/exit, which can alternatively accommodate two seated passengers (via foldable seats) when the wheelchair bay is not being used, or childrens pushchairs.

DIGITAL DISPLAYS: A large electronic display features at both the front and rear exterior ends of the bus, showing bus number and route information. The rear display additionally incorporates a designated section that can be utilised for animated / scrolling advertisements. An information display showing bus number, main destination, and next stop is situation at the side of the bus, beside the rear open platform. Two similar ceiling-mounted displays are also included on each of the two floors of the bus.

LCD screens are located at the front entrance of the lower-deck, and also situated on the wall at the base of the staircase. As well as displaying route/TFL information, they can also display animated adverts.

LIGHTING: Front wingmirrors incorporate large indicators, clearly visible by traffic from both the front and rear of the bus. A row of sidelights run along the lower midsection of each side of the bus for extra visibility. Illuminated steps feature at both entrance/exits, as well as on the internal staircase, along with vertical handrails featuring illuminated bell-pushers. Floor guidance lighting has also been included, along with multi-directional ceiling lighting. Venting has been incorporated into the upper-deck ceiling light housing to provide air-flow circulation, powered via the A/C unit.

SAFETY: Vertical and horizontal handrails have been included throughout the bus, located at both entrance/exits, on the staircase, on all lower seat rows on the ground floor, and on every second seat row on the upper floor. An optional automatic barrier has been incorporated at the rear open platform. This barrier retracts upon the bus coming to a complete stand-still at a designated stop (operated via the driver from within the cab). The barrier closes before departure, and helps prevent passengers accidentally falling from the platform, whilst still retaining the platforms open-air feature. Consideration has been made in the design of the vertical seat-mounted handrails to accommodate for children by incorporating a lower reach point.

CCTV is located throughout the bus (via compact digital cameras housed in appropriately discrete zones, both upstairs and downstairs). Camera images are fed to both the driver and conductor; the driver’s viewable via a dashboard mounted multiselectable screen, and the conductor’s viewable via a portable PDA-style device (also utilised for ticket dispensing). The driver’s cab also recieves images from mini cameras located in both exterior wingmirrors and also from cameras mounted at the rear exterior of the bus. This allows him to observe any obstructions or dangers out of his normal field of view. The driver is housed within his own ‘cocoon’; a cab accessed via a reinforced, lockable door from the main body of the bus. The cab dashboard includes multi-select screens for monitoring CCTV and external cameras, air conditioning, and a communication link with the main control center via radio and computer assisted information monitor. Due to the split front-end design of the bus, and the raised seating position, the driver is provided with a wide field of view both forward, and left / right (see package illustrations / elevations for specific information).

TICKETING: Two Oyster card readers are housed within the bus; one at each entrance/exit for convenient use.

(source: Jamie Martin)

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