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Climate Adapted People Shelter- CAPS

Re-imaging bus shelters so they are climate adapted and smart for vulnerable communities

Photo of lee wallace
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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.

Objectives are:

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.

How did you find out about this challenge? (Check all that apply)

  • Email from OpenIDEO

Would you like to be involved in Accelerate in the future? (Check all that apply)

  • Yes! I'd love to be involved in some way.


Join the conversation:

Photo of lee wallace

check out the blog at WE have run three of the first round of workshops and we have had our second really hot day in Sydney today. WE've talked to about 60 people and here are few points they have made about what makes aclimate adapted shelter:
- materials that insulate/dissipate heat/ allow for air flow;
- water bubblers;
-use of lighter colours, eg roof to reflect heat;
- modifying strucutre to limit exposure eg. tilting roof, moveable panels/walls patron enabled;
-air cirulation;
- collection of rain water;
'New, up to date bus shelter will give us 21st Century solutions to 21st Century issues- dealing with climate issues with increasing population, traffic and making use of time by use of technology. I'm optimistic about this project!'
WE also did some work on vulnerable personas and found they need:
- security- safety features and lighting
- comfort- shade and a seat made from natural materials that isn't hot
- connectivity- visibility and information on bus services
- accessibility- space in shelter to accomodate a wheel chair becuase too hot in the sun
We'll launch the competition in a few weeks and the link will be on the current blog. thanks again for your support.

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