Build a Better Bus Stop Design Contest Another Step Toward Improving Public Health for Transit Riders

by jim on January 8, 2019

Inspired in part by its recent collaboration with Downwinders, Dallas-Based Better Block Foundation’s annual FD19 design competition is focusing on how to build a better, and more protective bus stop for transit riders

First orientation is January 16th, with milestones all the way up to the debut of the winning design in May. Better Block was founded a decade ago by Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts.  It “educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods.”

Better Block recently helped out Downwinders during our Electric Glide Bus Pub Crawl by providing the spiffy portable stage used by Proterra founder Dale Hill at our stop at the Convention Center recharging station.

Originally both groups had more ambitious plans to design and build a number of pop-up bus shelters to test ideas on how better to protect waiting riders from street level Particulate Matter pollution and donate them to DART. DART had other ideas…and a long list of very particular specs to make the shelters official.

Despite this institutional resistance Better Block is determined to do some good and offer constructive suggestions. They requested and got DART’s long list of specs and are incorporating them into this year’s contest to DART won’t have any reason to reject them out of hand.

Despite these obstacles Better Block is determined to do some good and offer constructive suggestions. They requested and got DART’s long list of specs and are incorporating them into this year’s contest to DART won’t have any reason to reject them out of hand.

Why bus shelters? Studies show transit riders are among those most heavily exposed to PM pollution. One reason is they’re standing or sitting beside busy roadways, sometimes in shelters that actually trap PM pollution.  Better Block wants to help design shelters that do actually reduce a waiting riders exposure to PM. 

Better Block Director Krista Nightengale explained “There are a couple things that led us to this: 1. Downwinders at Risk brought to our attention a recent study that showed that you could cut PM exposure by 30-40 percent by simply rethinking the bus stop  So we want to think about how to reposition the bus stop to better protect people as they wait. 2. This is something we’ve seen/felt as we wait for the bus: many times, the stop is literally a pole in the ground. So how can we use what we do to give folks a place to sit and give them shade? And how can we make bus stops fun? “

Her comment and commitment are gratifying. It’s similar to what a DART board member told us after a discussion: “We never thought about PM before Downwinders brought it up.”

DART has never considered PM pollution in any of its decisions regarding bus type or bus shelter design.

Better Block’s decision to make better bus stops the center of their annual design competition is another small success story in Downwinders’ efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of PM pollution. We can’t wait to see the prototypes.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: