Late last year, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) picked two new designs for a modern-day Routemaster double-decker bus for the UK capital’s public transport service. More than 700 design submissions were evaluated and at the end of the day two designs, one by Aston Martin and architectural firm Foster and Partners, and another by Capoco Design, were picked.

While the Aston Martin designed bus is nowhere near as enticing as some of the company’s sports cars, by bus standards there are still some very interesting elements. The design envisages a highly-manoeuvrable zero-emissions vehicle with drive-by-wire technology and solar panels built into a glass roof.

A number of international bus manufacturers have now been invited to submit their plans for the new Routemaster buses and competition is once again expected to be rife. The final design for the bus will have to take influences from both winning designs and the first examples should be ready for display by the end of the year. However, Londoners won’t be able to ride on the new buses until they enter service in 2011.

As for the final design, it will have to meet all London bus requirements for vehicles in public service in the city such as accessibility, safety, and emissions regulations.

The original Routemasters were phased out of regular service by the end of 2005 as they were inaccessible to wheelchairs or pushchairs.