CAPS is the Climate Adapted People Shelter project - a design competition to reimagine current bus shelters to be smart and adapted to increasing urban heat in Western Sydney.
This project will address the linkage between exposure to urban heat and bus transport infrastructure. By 2031 Sydney’s bus users will make in excess of 1.3 million journeys per day (NSW Govt 2013). Buses are the most accessible form of public transport for Sydney’s most vulnerable community members.
Bus shelters and the passengers they serve are considered to suffer from a history of neglect (WSCF discussion paper) with limited evidence that extreme heat is considered in shelter design. Stage 1 (in progress) of CAPS involves a competition in four LGAs employing a design-led open innovation process to prototype climate adapted shelters for bus and street users. Stage 2 seeks to construct, monitor and evaluate performance and social acceptance of ‘winning’ designs to capture information for wider application to Sydney’s bus system.
To identify design principles for a climate adapted people shelters and make recommendations to industry, transport providers and local government on:
- the cost associated with construction of street shelters that provide improved thermal performance and user comfort while also complying with industry standards.
- The thermal performance in situ of improved street shelters during heat wave conditions.
- The social acceptance for users and the utility of the new designs to transport operators.
Bus shelters were identified as critical transport infrastructure located in existing, and likely worsening under climate change, urban heat islands in Western Sydney (exposure). Buses are often the most accessible form of transport for many vulnerable members of the community (aged, socially disadvantaged, primary school children, disabled), so bus shelters attract people with low heat tolerance (sensitivity). Sensitive community members often have limited opportunities for behaviour change because their travel may not be discretionary and options to use other forms of transport (e.g. private cars) are limited (low adaptive capacity). As a consequence increasing the resilience of many Western Sydney transport users relies on transformative adaptation of physical infrastructure (shelters). In addition, improving the infrastructure in selected high traffic locations ensures that climate adapted shelters can be incorporated into the heat coping strategies of all heat exposed street users, thereby broadening the improvements to resilience.
Social, economic and environment benefits expected are:
- Capitalise on the profile generated by the design competition stage of CAPS to raise community awareness and engagement in positive aspects of climate adaptation action.
- Identify potential savings by evaluating the performance and social acceptance of the designs in situ prior to tendering construction from a general design brief and specifications.
- May identify new more sustainable materials that can be used in construction of street furniture.
- Aid in reducing heat stress, hospital presentations for heat related illness and potentially heat-related mortality through the adoption of design principles that lead to reduced exposure to urban heat.
- Offers potential to bring a neglected form of transport infrastructure into focus as an important multifunctional component of city streetscapes.
- Provides a model for the engagement of the business community (through industry involvement) in public good action on climate adaptation.