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June 15, 2012


The Bus Stop of the Future

by soundlandscapes

IF YOU WERE ASKED to design the ‘bus stop of the future’ what would you come up with? Well the boffins at RATP have been applying their minds to that question and this is what they have come up with.

It’s a concept bus stop on the Boulevard Diderot opposite the Gare de Lyon railway station and it’s used by three daytime bus routes as well as five night bus services.

Designed by urban design specialist Marc Aurel, this bus stop is really a multi-purpose public space designed to blend into the urban environment. The design is modular and can be tailored to suit any location.

Whilst here, you can buy a bus ticket, get information about the neighbourhood or have a coffee.

You can hire an electric bike …

… or even borrow a book from the small lending library. There is free wireless internet access and improved space and seating for bus users. The lighting in the bus stop varies automatically to suit day and night conditions and the central section is heated in the colder weather. The signage is excellent and the touch screens give easy access to a mass of information.

Of special interest to me is the innovative sound environment in the bus stop.

Some of the sounds inside the bus stop:

The sounds inside the bus stop vary. Music composed by Michel Redolfi is broadcast when the bus stop senses that a bus is approaching and a variety of sounds are generated when a hand is passed over a sonic panel.

Interestingly, there are no loudspeakers in the bus stop. Instead of using speakers, the sounds are broadcast directly through the glass roof and the vertical glass panels making up the walls of the bus stop.

What the boffins at RATP have done is to come up with a concept bus stop where spending time is about so much more than simply waiting for a bus. It may be a concept bus stop at the moment but let’s hope that it, or at least something like it, could become quite normal before too long.

Bravo RATP!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jun 15 2012

    Yes, bravo !
    But unfortunately, I bet it will be tagged faster than we can imagine it.
    Have a nice rainy day 😉

  2. Jun 15 2012

    Well, it’s still in good shape at the moment so let’s hope it continues that way … and the rain seems to have stopped, at least for the moment!

  3. Jun 16 2012

    Looks great!

    • Jun 16 2012

      I just knew that your architectural eye would be attracted by this.

  4. Jun 16 2012

    Wow, the future has arrived! Do you know if the sounds will change regularly? As thoughtful as the concept is, I wonder if it could get a bit irritating if you were already feeling a bit overloaded by the city soundscape.

    • Jun 16 2012

      Yes, the sounds do change although the sounds generated when the bus stop senses a bus arriving take priority. I can quite understand why you raise the point about the possible irritation factor but, surprisingly, I found quite the opposite. For this blog piece the sounds seem to dominate, deliberately so because I wanted to feature them but, in reality, the sounds are actually proportionate to the space and so they are not at all irritating.

  5. Jun 20 2012

    Interesting, but it certainly can’t be said that it blends into its environment. I like using buses whenever I can, but I never want to spend much time at a bus stop. This unit must be incredibly expensive to produce, install and upkeep, money that could perhaps be better spent on increasing the numbers of buses in circulation!

    • Jun 22 2012

      Thanks Adam, an interesting comment but I take a different view.

      I’m not sure that you are correct in saying that this bus stop doesn’t blend into its environment. True, it isn’t a Haussmann construction but considerable thought has gone into its design. It sits on a wide pavement beside a wide road surrounded by trees and as I can attest, it’s easily missed. To my eye at least, it doesn’t seem dramatically out of place.

      As far as the expense is concerned, this is a ‘concept’ bus stop, it’s not an expense it’s an investment. It’s a ‘test-bed’ to try out new ideas. For example, the sound art may seem to be an unnecessary cost but, in fact, the replacement of loudspeakers by transducers embedded into glass panels could revolutionise the broadcasting of announcements in Metro and railway stations and in the buses.

      Some of the signage tried out in this bus stop has already been transferred to the new bus stop at Bastille. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.

      As a regular and enthusiastic user of public transport in Paris, I applaud the efforts RATP are making to improve what they do. They don’t always get it right but you can’t blame them for trying.


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  2. The bus stop of the future? | The Transit Blog by HARTride 2012

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