The Works

London’s Underground Font Gets an Internet-Friendly Revamp

Plus funding falls into place for suburban rail improvements in Vienna, and more in our weekly New Starts. 

A sign for the London Underground system appears next to the Big Ben bell clock and Elizabeth Tower in London. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

London’s Iconic Font Enters the Digital Age
Transport for London (TfL) is celebrating the centennial of its legendary typeface by giving it a redesign for the digital age.

Railway Gazette International last week carried news of the rollout of “Johnston100,” the third version of the distinctive font that is as much a part of the London transit system’s identity as the famed “bullseye” roundel.

This newest version makes some subtle changes along with three major ones for an “environment in which digital is as strong as print.” The major changes? The introduction of @ and # to the family of characters along with extra-thin versions of the font.

The first version of the Johnston Sans font was designed by calligrapher Edward Johnston in 1916 to unify the graphic identity of the London transport network. Type designer Eiichi Kono updated it as New Johnston in the 1970s. This latest version was developed by Monotype, whose director, Nadine Chahine, told RGI, “It was very important to TfL that we add the extra-thin weights, because of today’s digital trends.”

TfL Head of Design Jon Hunter called the introduction “an important step forward” and said that the agency would soon release where it would first appear on the London Underground network. “We hope this version of the ‘lettering of London’ for the digital age will last for another 100 years and beyond,” he continued.

An S-Bahn train runs on Line S80.

Funding in Place for Vienna S-Bahn Improvements
The Austrian Federal Railways, the city of Vienna and the Austrian Ministry of Transport have agreed to invest €450 million ($509.2 million U.S.) in a series of improvements that will extend and improve the operation of one of the Vienna region’s suburban rail lines, the International Railway Journal reports.

The improvements will all be made to tracks used by Line S80, which currently operates from Hütteldorf west of Vienna to Hirschstetten northeast of it via the central railroad station, Vienna Hauptbahnhof.

The first of the two projects involves double-tracking single-track sections and adding three new stations to the Hütteldorf-Meidling line at a cost of €285 million ($323.3 million U.S.). These improvements will allow more frequent service on Line S80.

The other will extend the northeast leg of Line S80 from its current terminus at Hirschstetten to Aspern North via a connection with Line U2 of the Vienna metro at Hausfeldstrasse. The extension will also add a second track to the line from Erzerhog-Karl-Strasse to the new terminus as part of a project to electrify the Stadlau-Marchegg line. The extension will support a major urban redevelopment project in Aspern.

The extension is expected to be completed by 2023 and the double-tracking in the west by 2025. The federal government will cover €380 million ($430 million U.S.) of the total, with the city of Vienna picking up the remaining €70 million ($79.2 million U.S). When finished, the improvements are expected to cut the end-to-end travel time on the line to 35 minutes.

Gold Coast Starts Work on LRT Extension
Global Rail News reports that work will begin next month on a 7.3-km (4.5-mile) extension of the light-rail transit line in Gold Coast, the fast-growing resort city southeast of the Queensland state capital of Brisbane.

The Stage 2 extension will take the existing LRT line north from its current terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale via Parkwood East and Parkwood. The extension will also connect the LRT line with train service into Brisbane.

The plan calls for construction to be completed by mid-2017, with testing to take place in the second half of the year. The line is expected to be in service in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where it is expected to carry athletes and attendees to five of the games’ venues.

Know of a transportation project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.

The Works is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.

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Tags: transportation spendinglight railsubways

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