Encouraging public transport through accessible, attractive stations

When we designed the North Shore Busway in Auckland we gave the five stations a local flavour, reflecting the community at each stop.

The North Shore Busway in Auckland comprises five bus stations linked by a dedicated road for buses only. The stations needed to provide an attractive, easily accessible, safe, high quality environment to encourage and increase public patronage.

WSP Opus took a coordinated approach to design that reflected the identity of the suburb at each station. Features include fish motifs at Onewa, woven basketwork at Esmonde and forest at Smiths Bush. Relief work on retaining walls and a rippling wave on concrete barriers offer visual continuity to unify the busway. We gave stations an Auckland Harbour sails and cloudscape theme with clean lines and open space, which are popular with passengers.

We took great care with aesthetics as a whole. At Onewa the staggered overlap of underpass structures enhance the area, and curved low-profile bridges and embankments complement the shoreline topography.

A primary aim was to achieve a bold planting design that would establish quickly and convey the new public transport concepts represented by the busway. Grassed swales catch and filter pollutants from stormwater run-off. Trees offer shade and scale to the car park while keeping views open. Our design lessens environmental impacts and reduces maintenance costs.

We achieved excellent security for staff, and passengers waiting for buses and making their way to parked cars. Spaces are designed to be open and visibly transparent where possible.

A link with AUT was important. A footbridge with lift and stairs from the station offers students access to improved public transport route choices and access across the motorway to Takapuna and beyond.

Extensive consultation at every stage resulted in high levels of buy-in.

Since scheduled services started in 2007, patronage has increased year on year. With five modern, well-lit, high spec stations, the busway offers a world class example of modern public transport and makes a major contribution to ‘moving Auckland safely’.