Figure 1.1.1: Space occupied by 28 single occupancy drivers, cyclists, and transit riders. Source: Complete Streets Canada.
Bus Stop Urban Design (BSUD) aims to improve the waiting environment of bus stops and their adjacent neighbourhoods through the development and application of 9 design techniques
. Topics of focus include station amenities, non-vehicular access, and neighbourhood integration. It is hoped that better walking and waiting environments will lead to higher active transportation and transit mode shares, thereby reducing transportation related greenhouse gases and improving overall health.
This project contains five sections. First, the author reviews current literature
on issues relating to urban design, transit, and commuter behaviour. Second, the distilled research results give rise to a set of 7 goals for urban design around transit
. Third, the author identifies 9 design techniques
for achieving the goals. Fourth, the author demonstrates
each of the 9 techniques at a bus stop in Metro Vancouver. Fifth, the author makes recommendations for further actions and research
According to UN reports
, the urban population now amounts to 50 percent of total global population and will rise to about 75 percent by 2030 (United Nations, 2007). This poses dramatic transportation challenges for the major cities of the world. In British Columbia, half of household carbon emissions and one third of overall carbon emissions result from transportation, which consists largely of private automobile use (BC Ministry of Environment, 2008). Therefore, reducing car use can play a pivotal role in transitioning into a low carbon emissions economy. However, at the same time, we must improve transit service to ensure that mobility is not limited when car use decreases.
Project Context: Focusing on the design element of the built environment to increase transit ridership.
Regional transit ridership is affected by a variety of factors such as regional geography, metropolitan economy, population characteristics, and the built environment (Taylor, Miller, Iseki, & Fink, 2009). Subsequently, the relationship between the built environment and ridership is often broken down into the 5 D's
: density of development, diversity of land uses, design of the environment, destination accessibility, and distance to transit (Ewing & Cervero, 2010). The third factor, design of the environment, is the focus of this report. Studies show strong connections between the urban realm and mode choice. A recent study commissioned by TransLink showed that 45% of residents along Main Street in Vancouver are more likely to choose transit after improvements to sidewalks and bus shelters were made in 2005 (NRG Research Group, 2010). Because riders expend a great deal of the time, energy and patience outside of buses while waiting or transferring (Taylor, Iseki, Miller, & Smart, 2007), enhanced passenger amenities are greatly valued by passengers (Jenks, 1998). Alternatively, lack of adequate design leads to commuters feeling undervalued and thereby view the waiting experience as an impediment to choosing transit (Hess, 2012; Wardman, 2001).
In most North American cities, transit mode share declined dramatically after the 1930's and have remained low since the 1970's (Taylor et al., 2009). Part of this phenomenon is caused by the domination of automobile oriented design of cities after World War II (Lillebye, 1996). Such principles made cities easy for driving, but hard for walking and cycling, which are the primary feeder modes for transit. As a result, many feel that the walk to and the wait at transit stops have become too physically and emotionally demanding compared to travelling in a private car (Wardman, Hine, & Stradling, 2001).
Figure 1.4.1: Annual Unlinked Transit Trips per Capita in the United States. Source: American Public Transportation Association Historical Ridership Report
However, as the recognition of the environmental impacts of transportation related GHGs
have grown in recent years, many cities have initiated traffic calming and pedestrian network enhancement programs to restore the walking environment and make taking transit easier (Ewing, 2008). Although the effects of these actions are slow to be seen, most cities understand that such incremental transformations build off one another, have long term benefits, and are worth investing in (Van Dyck, Deforche, Cardon, & De Bourdeaudhuij, 2009). This report aims to contribute to this transformation.