Introduction | Literature Review | 7 Goals | 9 Techniques | Selection | 9 Designs | Bibliography
4.0 Bus Stop Urban Design TechniquesThe Bus Stop Urban Design Techniques are a set of parameters for the design of many aspects of a transit stop in hope of achieving the goals set out in the previous section. Each goal is supplemented with past research and precedents. The 9 techniques address: lighting, seating, cover, amenities, information, vegetation, traffic management, pedestrian infrastructure, and bicycle infrastructure.
paths and bike parking must be provided.
4.1.1 Lighting and SafetyLighting at a transit stop is important for safety, access, and character. Studies show that commuters who identified safety as their primary concern also named lighting to be the most effective solution (Hess, 2012). As most public crimes are triggered by windows of opportunity (Saraiva & Pinho, 2011), it is important to keep areas around stops adequately lit at night as well other times of the day. Even lighting throughout the stop, rather than spot-lighting, provides an ambient environment with lower contrast shadows. This condition is desired as commuters feel safer in areas that have visual and spatial permeability because all activity at the site can be easily observed (J. Jacobs, 1961; Saraiva & Pinho, 2011).
4.1.2 Lighting and CharacterIn terms of character, pedestrian scale lighting does a better job of creating a comfortable environment for the commuter and is more likely to fit with the surroundings than standard street lights. Pedestrian scale lighting refers to lights that are lower, smaller and usually more visually interesting (Hamilton-Baillie & Jones, 2005). Lower lights that are less intense and spaced closer together offer more even and comfortable lighting for pedestrians (A. B. Jacobs, 1995). A survey in Japan identified that lighting spaced at 30 metre intervals had the most pedestrian benefit to cost ratio (Fukahori & Kubota, 2003). The lights may be integrated with the transit shelter, be integrated with other pieces of furniture at the stop, or be stand-alone. Choosing lighting styles that complement the architectural style of adjacent developments can enhance the visual coherence and attractiveness of the setting (Kostic & Djokic, 2009). Such improvements can be beneficial, as studies show a correlation between a commuter's subjective measures of a stop and their frequency of use of the stop (Carr, Dunsiger, & Marcus, 2010).
Because materials of the urban environment play an important roles in modifying the microclimate and thermal comfort conditions, it is important to consider the albedo, reflectivity, and other thermal attributes of the seats in order to avoid unnecessary heat gain or glare (Asaeda & Thanh, 1996). However, having seating does not guarantee a successful transit stop. Many well-used stops have a variety of seating options. This diversity gives the commuter more freedom of choice and will better serve people of different physical attributes, social habits, and in different weather conditions (Schmidt, Nemeth, & Botsford, 2011). It is not required that all seating for a transit stop be provided and maintained by one entity. With cooperation between designers and developers, between commuters and neighbours, the best case scenario would be seating that is seamlessly integrated with, or created from the surrounding urban landscape. When this is the case, it beneficial to have the seating on the peripheyl of the site, as it is the preferred configuration by most people (Gehl, 1987). Such seats should be able to serve non-commuters during non-rush hours and be sufficiently shielded from vehicular traffic.
There are many ways of achieving weather protection at a transit stop, with sheltering being the primary component. While it is often cheaper to standardize shelters across the city, shelters should ideally be fitted to the microclimate of the site (Schmidt et al., 2011). Possible techniques range from wrap-around designs, which offer the most protection, to open designs, which encourage natural ventilation. The albedo, reflectivity, and other thermal attributes should also be considered in order to avoid unnecessary heat gain or glare (Asaeda & Thanh, 1996). If the transit stop is located near tall buildings, it is important to have structures that buffer the downwash, such as awnings or a veranda (Gaardsted Esbensen Consulting Engineers Ltd., 2004). Fences can also serve as wind block in open areas. Studies show that fences with 35% to 40% opening provide the best wind buffer while maintaining visual permeability and not generating too much turbulence elsewhere (Nikolopoulou, 2004). Orientation of the shelter is also a key consideration given the solar and prevailing wind directions (Chrisomallidou et al., 2004). In all instances where insulation is desired, it is important to make sure design features do not inadvertently cause leaks. Wherever possible, the design of the stop should strive to take advantage of the physical forms adjacent to it, such as large awnings of businesses to minimize costs (Steemers, Ramos, & Sinou, 2004). The end goal is to create a diversity of microclimates at the stop so that even if the conditions are not ideal, people will have to opportunity to choose different environments or engage in adaptive behaviour (Schmidt et al., 2011).
4.6.1 MicroclimateWith an average albedo of 0.2 to 0.25, vegetation also mitigates the local microclimate by reducing air temperatures, shading, and providing wind protection (Dimoudi & Nikolopoulou, 2003). Studies show that trees and hedges can reduce the surrounding air temperature by 1 to 3 degrees Celsius due to reduced solar gains (-20% to -60%), reduced convective heat gain, and the addition of moisture to the air (Dimoudi & Nikolopoulou, 2003; Kleerekoper et al., 2011). Unlike fixed, solid objects, vegetation is also excellent for wind breaking as they slow down wind without creating much turbulence or greater wind speed elsewhere (Gaardsted Esbensen Consulting Engineers Ltd., 2004). Studies show that on average, vegetation can reduce wind speeds by around 20% (Dimoudi & Nikolopoulou, 2003). Placement of plants must be considered because both their thermal and wind blocking effects can be felt for up to 4-5 times the height of the plant belt away from vegetation (Houlberg, 1979). Vegetation has also been proven effective in noise mitigation in public spaces as they are able to block sound waves without causing multiple reflections (Yang & Kang, 2003). It is important to note that microclimatic effect of vegetation ultimately depends on its type and growth; mature trees have foliage temperatures below ambient air temperature, while the opposite is true for young trees (Scudo et al., 2004). Deciduous trees work well in fairer climates as it provides shading in the summer and permits solar exposure in the winter; evergreens provide shading and wind breaks all year round (Chrisomallidou et al., 2004). Insufficient foliage may result in little or even opposite effects (Scudo et al., 2004).
4.6.2 CommunityBecause of the pedestrian exposure transit stops are guaranteed to receive, it is a great location to test and demonstrate new ecology-based systems (Ercoskun & Karaaslan, 2011). Bio-swales and green walls are excellent candidates for such locations and serve as didactic tools while contributing to the overall function of the stop. In some cities in the Netherlands, community interaction is taken further as neighbours volunteer to take care of the vegetation (Kleerekoper et al., 2011). On a larger scale, it is important for the site vegetation to be integrated with neighbourhood green infrastructure if opportunities exist (Walmsley, 1995).
4.8.1 Measuring WalkabilitySeveral indices and audits have been developed to measure the walkability of an environment. They look at elements such as the street wall, sidewalk width, amenities, and many more. Three well known publications are the Irvine-Minnesota Physical Environment Audit (Brown et al., 2007), the Scottish Walkability Assessment Tool (Millington et al., 2009), and the Illustrated Field Manual for Measuring Urban Design Qualities (Clemente, Ewing, Handy, & Brownson, 2010).
4.8.2 Enhancing QualityElements of a good walking environment include wide sidewalks, shaded corridors, sufficient lighting, interesting streets, land use diversity, natural features, and other pedestrians (Brown et al., 2007; Cao, Mokhtarian, & Handy, 2008; Jiang et al., 2012; Saraiva & Pinho, 2011). Where pedestrian paths are in close proximity with other modes, it is important to denote their presence clearly to drivers through separation, paving materials, or other design methods (Kaparias et al., 2012). As a further measure, traffic calming techniques should be employed where pedestrian flows are high (Susilo et al., 2012). Such actions will increase the comfort and confidence of commuters. Focusing on the pedestrian path itself, studies show that pedestrian comfort increments with sidewalk width gradually (Tan et al., 2007). Well maintained walking surfaces are also a key determining factor for those with greater difficulty walking (Borst et al., 2008). Therefore, it is crucial to provide a sufficient level of service for the expected pedestrian flow (Mori & Tsukaguchi, 1987).
4.8.3 Increasing connectivityWalking time is consistently valued at around 1.5 to 2 times higher than the time spent in vehicle. Therefore, to promote walking to transit stops, the walking path must be more comfortable and perceptually shorter. It is shown that neighbourhoods with greater density of intersections correlates with higher walking rates (Ewing & Cervero, 2010). This is because pedestrians are given a greater range of choice of routes and have more direct paths to their locations. Therefore, strategies for increasing connectivity of the pedestrian network include placing cross walks to break up long blocks, connecting sidewalks with the local trails, and formalizing shortcuts so that the shortest route can also be comfortable and safe (Learnihan et al., 2011).
4.9.1 Station Level AccommodationsCycling is substantially faster than walking and more flexible than driving in regard to travelling to a transit stop (Martens, 2004). Many transit agencies around the world have already implemented bike parking in various forms, ranging from individual bike racks to purpose-built bike storage buildings. A recent survey of bicycle parking programs in North America showed that most transit agencies have experienced dramatic increases in the use of bike parking, ranging from increase of 50% to 80% from 2000 to 2005 (Transportation Research Board, 2005). We can see that the demand for such facilities is increasing steadily.
Bicycle parking should be provided to match the minimum expected ridership. Ideally, the design of the parking system would be able to accommodate expansions in the future. When possible, it is beneficial to include other professionals such as industrial designers, artists and engineers to ensure that parking facilities not only function well but also adds to the visual intrigue of the environment (Kashef, 2008). Bicycle parking can also be integrated with and used as a of traffic calming measure (Ewing, 2008). With multiple modes accessing the transit stop, it is important that bicycle traffic and parking are compatible with pedestrian flow and other amenities (Transportation Research Board, 2005).