Why do bus shelters face the way they do?
September 25, 2012 1:18 AM   Subscribe

A colleague who has recently moved to London asked me why bus shelters here sometimes face towards and sometimes away from the road, seemingly at random. I guessed maybe to do with the location of under-road pipes/wiring, but couldn't find anything concrete online. Anyone know?
posted by TheTelf to Travel & Transportation around London, England (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
my total guess is that it may be a matter of era. Older bus shelters open towards the road because that seems logical in a physical movement sense. But newer bus shelters close towards the road because studies showing elevated air pollution health risk with the older road-facing shelters
posted by Bwithh at 1:32 AM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Knowing nothing about London, and just throwing it out - could it depend on typical rainfall? As in, most likely, when it rains, it comes in at this angle, and the shelter would protect people if built in such a fashion?
posted by efalk at 2:38 AM on September 25, 2012

My guess is that the positioning varies due to how each particular site is made to meet the city building code requirements.
posted by Specklet at 2:47 AM on September 25, 2012

More guesses:
- The shelters facing away from the road protect people from being hit by puddles.
- If the sides are open and it's just a road-facing side with a roof over it (as some of the new shelters are here in Dublin), it doesn't impede pedestrian flow like the big, boxy old road-facing ones.
posted by carbide at 3:02 AM on September 25, 2012

Splash from puddles in the street? Width of the sidewalk?
posted by clorox at 3:02 AM on September 25, 2012

Maybe it's to enable the drivers to see if there are people waiting to be picked up?
posted by Solomon at 3:15 AM on September 25, 2012

Most UK shelters are glass-sided Solomon.
posted by pharm at 3:20 AM on September 25, 2012

I think the answer is: street width

This PDF by Camden council suggests that forward-facing seats are desirable but if the sidewalk is too narrow then rear-facing is suggested (otherwise, presumably people have to walk into the street to get into the shelter)

It does go on to say that if they are rear-facing then they should be not exactly on the stop itself in order to avoid blocking the bus doors. So, something to watch out for on the street is that bus stops facing away from the street are indeed a bit more removed from the stop itself.
posted by vacapinta at 3:25 AM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I think street width has a lot to do with it, and accessibility. This PDF (see page 19) from TFL explains a little bit (but not much)

"Figure 10 illustrates three general layouts for the bus passenger shelter. The ‘centre of footway’ layout (see Figure 10.1) enables passengers to shelter, see approaching buses, and then board with ease. In addition, this layout allows wheelchair users who may wish to wait by their boarding position at the centre doors to be protected from the weather. Where articulated buses operate a three door boarding configuration, this layout helps to spread boarders between the doors.

"Other arrangements may be used where footways are narrow or other site constraints dictate. The ‘back to kerb’ layout (see Figure 10.2) can encourage passengers to stand upstream of the shelter so that they can see and board the bus more easily. The ‘back of footway’ option (see Figure 10.3) is only appropriate where access to adjoining buildings can be maintained."

posted by ComfySofa at 3:34 AM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

[For those just sort of throwing out ideas: OP asked if anyone knows, not if anyone had any guesses. Actual links or references to pertinent information is preferred; thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:38 AM on September 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

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