Design vision for HS2

HS2's new design panel chair Sadie Morgan sets out her vision for the £50bn project.

High Speed 2 is the most exciting infrastructure project of my lifetime. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be involved.

The Design Panel will have a crucial role in supporting and challenging the design process, at every level and covering the whole of the HS2 experience.

In parallel with my appointment as Design Panel Chair, HS2 has published its Design Vision. This document will form the basis of any contract involving design, ensuring that good design is an integral part of the planning and procurement process, from start to finish.

"A successful HS2 will engender national pride matched by a sense of local ownership."

With a core team of circa 20 -25 people, the Panel with cover a broad range of industry sectors, drawing upon a wide range of skills. 

Under my direction the Panel will assure the DfT and the public that design decisions deliver against the Design Vision, consider all needs, and are robust and transparent.

First we need to understand what ‘successful design looks like’. A seamlessly enjoyable experience of travel requires many aspects of design to be right: from website and ticketing to trains, tracks, landscape and stations. Successful design is self evident in use and there are many UK exemplars from which to learn, from the GWR to Crossrail.

A successful HS2 will engender national pride matched by a sense of local ownership. 

Business and cultural heritage is framed by infrastructure projects; the project elements must be fit for purpose and sensitive to environmental contexts. 

Most importantly, given the scale and timing of the project, HS2 should be designed to last. 

That means designing to a clear brief now which can serve the needs of the future.