The majority of bus shelters we see in any given city tend to be the run of the mill, standard bus stop design we see in our own hometowns. Every now and then, however, we encounter bus shelters that are innovative, interactive, and invite us to stay awhile and explore. But those are only found in other, cooler cities, right? Maybe so, but there are countless reasons why every city and town should be investing in improved bus shelters… Read on to discover three ways that beautifully painted bus shelters can improve communities in ways you might not expect.

No.1. Increase Safety 

Arguably the most important element for bus shelters is safety. Without safety, people will be less likely to use transit. While we often think that the presence of security cameras and signage discouraging violence or vandalism will make a space safer, they frequently do the opposite. Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is a concept that uses thoughtful design to discourage crime and violent behaviour. CPTED ensures that there is adequate lighting to illuminate the space, which can be particularly beneficial at night as it reduces the opportunity for hiding space. Ensuring there are clear sightlines in and out of spaces functions like a natural surveillance system, where you can see the activity occurring within a space as can others on the streets or in surrounding buildings.

Did you know? People who are older, women, or new to the area have lower thresholds for perceived safety than people who frequently use the space?

No. 2: Increase Physical Comfort

Another significant factor for increasing transit ridership is to increase the level of physical comfort that can be experienced at a bus shelter. The overall temperature in an area contributes significantly to whether or not a person will choose to use transit on any given day. Providing a shaded area either by planting trees or designing a roof that blocks sunlight allows users to wait comfortably for the bus on hot and sunny days. These elements, along with walls can provide shelter from wind, rain and snow. Beyond the elements, studies show that providing seating for riders to rest increases ridership as people are unlikely to take long transit journeys if they are not certain there will be a place to sit or rest their baggage if they are returning from a shopping trip.

Did you know? Designing bus shelters with these elements in mind can increase transit user pride, and can attract new users to the system? This is great news for municipalities and for air quality!

No. 3. Make Your Community Memorable

The third element of beautifully painted bus shelters takes the fundamental design considerations mentioned above, and adds a truly unique and unexpected layer to transit and your town. Incorporating art into the design of a bus shelter not only makes the space more enjoyable for those using it, but allows it to become a piece of public art, admired by the whole community. Adding elements like painted murals, innovative seating options, or even swings and large scale installations can go a long way in promoting your city and transit service as truly for the public. Incorporating art is a great way to show off local artists, provide pockets of fun in the city, or communicate a message, gain awareness and tell stories.

All together, these elements can make your city unforgettable for its thoughtful design, ridership pride, and innovation in art and meaningful inclusion of its residents by designing spaces that reflect their needs and spark imagination among the public. The benefits of increasing ridership are seemingly endless, beyond making your city memorable and unique, it can lessen congestion, improve air quality, get people moving, and, with more people using transit, the greater the opportunity is to reach more destinations.