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Bus stops and bus shelters vary throughout the world reflecting the environment around them and the needs of the community. From a hard stick in the ground in India, hammocks hanging from a tree in Galapagos, or a rounded glass and steel structure in London; bus stops are simultaneously a gathering place and a place to depart from, a place to watch others and a place to be watched, a place to be protected from the elements while being integrated into the environment. Bus stops are both the beginning and the end.
Doug Suisman (1997, pg. 80) has called bus stops the “neglected stepchildren” of the transit system. Highlighting that for many cities, bus stops and shelters are viewed as holding little potential for enhancing public space. But when one recognizes that bus stops are highly visible and are located on every major street, often every few blocks, they represent a unique opportunity to make a strong statement in the community.
Bus stops and shelters are a key component of a cities infrastructure, allowing for people to get to work and children to get to school. But rather then focusing solely on economy or functionality, bus stops should include imagination and creativity (Lyons, 2002). Bus stops serve as more than an advertisement for the transit system, they are a gateway to the transit system and a gateway to the adjacent neighborhoods where passengers depart (Suisman, 1997). They connect a community both architecturally and socially, and have the potential to tell a powerful story.
Several cities have begun to recognize the important influence that bus shelters can have on the surrounding environment. These cities have allowed for a greater importance to be levied on the design of these structures and have begun to view these structures on equal par to major buildings in the area (Despang, 2000).
The focus of my thesis project will be the analysis and design of bus stops and shelters for the Havelock route of the Lincoln Star Tran Bus System. All stops on the Havelock route (#1) will be evaluated, including stops with benches, shelters and lone bus signs. I will focus on creating bus stops and shelters that represent a unifying theme, but that also reflect the unique materials and environment they are situated in.
I want individual bus shelters to serve the needs of the community, enhance urban design, promote the cities infrastructure and act as landmarks for the environment they are located in. My goal is to combine in each stop the needs of comfort, inspiration, meaning, function, invitation, economics, purpose, safety, and enhancement.