Bus Stops: How People Actually Use Them, and the Implications for Design

Bus Stops: How People Actually Use Them, and the Implications for Design


Stephen Hall, Atkins, UK;Jake Desyllas, Intelligent Space, UK; Austin Byrne, Transport for London, UK


Assessment of people behaviour at bus stops and its use in future design of bus stops.


How do people behave at bus stops? This was the question to be answered to inform the publication of Transport for London?s design guide for accessible bus stops.
If we want more people to use urban public transport, we must provide bus stops that are pleasant to use. Advice on how to design a bus stop is not hard to find, but is it really based on an understanding of how people actually use bus stops? We thought not.
This paper describes our study and the insights that can support decisions on how to locate and arrange new bus stops, or ease problems at existing bus stops.
Five sites across London were surveyed by camera to observe the interaction of bus passengers and pedestrians at various times of day. All had different characteristics and volumes of movement. The sites were known to suffer from congestion from people boarding, alighting and waiting for buses, as well as people walking through.
A simple hypothesis of movement at bus stops was developed based on a literature review and compared to observations.
We observed that passenger and pedestrian interaction at bus stops can result in conflict at peak periods. Both observation and theory suggested that conditions are more sensitive to the number and distribution of boarders than through pedestrians or alighting passengers.
People were observed to adapt their behaviour to the conditions at each site to minimise conflicts, most strikingly when boarders form linear queues upstream of stops. This suggests that keeping large areas upstream of bus stops unobstructed is an efficient way of making best use of constrained footway widths.
The work provides an observational basis for decisions on the siting and layout of new bus stops, and alterations to ease problems at existing sites. Bus stops can be designed with a better understanding of how people are likely to use them.


Association for European Transport