Imagining a City Without Cars

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The ability to ‘think’ is directly linked to delivering Smarter Outcomes.

Thats why at Best Group, we have a collective mandate to prioritise research and development. Its a critical focus of our internal process that ensures we are able to continually ‘lead by thought’.

2014 will see us explore several societal issues where we believe an evolution through ‘thinking’ and ‘design’ will provide new solutions to future progression.

‘Imagining a City Without Cars’ looks directly at how urban transport and infrastructure hubs can provide more of a seamless, convenient physical environment linking people, technology, movement and space. Its been prepared by Best Group design leads George Thompson & Nick Pickering.

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As time progresses, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there are too many different modes of transport for a confined space. Pedestrian spaces are often squeezed amongst a sea of cars, trams and bikes, making the city a dangerous and unpleasant place for people to get out in and enjoy. Part of our concept relies on removing all passenger vehicles from the city; with the exception of buses, couriers and emergency service vehicles – these modes will share the tramlines.

Both tram lines and bike lanes will be relocated to the outside edge of where the existing roads are. This will free up space to be utilised by urban parklands and public spaces, creating a more vibrant and social atmosphere to the city. In the warmer months people will be encouraged to come out of their office towers and work, eat and socialise in these urban parklands.

This paradigm shift involves a redesign of the layout and appearance of the existing tram stops. The platforms will be split into two areas:

  • Waiting areas – located in the middle of the road
  • Egress areas – leading straight onto the existing foot path, taking advantage of Melbourne’s double sided trams to improve efficiencies when loading and unloading passengers.

A Beacon to Mark the Destination

A cylindrical destination beacon has been used to the mark the location of the city and suburban Urban Hubs. The form has been inspired from the points, which join the faceted panels in the public transport pattern, which is common across trains trams and buses.

The beacon draws its green illumination from the Yarra Tram branding colour palette. Different coloured beacons would be used across bus stops (orange) and train stations (blue) to integrate and strengthen the branding of all public transport offerings in Melbourne.

More Comfort Whilst you Wait

The physical space of the Urban Hub has also been transformed.

 General Environment

A shift to mobile device advertising through apps will result in a reduction in billboard space. This will reduce visual clutter in the environment, making way for human elements such as public performances.

An LED lighting system pulses different colours through the joins between the glazing panels. With the Urban Hub being located in the centre of Melbourne, this feature represents the pulsing heartbeat of the CBD.

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Shelter

Faceted glass panels, inspired by iconic Melbourne branding and architecture, have been used to construct the walls and ceiling to create a feeling of space as well as providing shelter from the elements. It is further accentuated by the LED lighting system.

Tram Service Information

A tram location screen is located on the return of each platform shelter. The indicator shows both a written indication of how far away the tram is as well as a schematic that represents the location of the tram relevant to the current tram stop.

Traffic Management and Safety

To effectively manage the hazards of the traffic of trams and pedestrians, a line of beacons illuminating between red and green have been put in place to ensure tram awareness for pedestrians. Red communicating that there is an incoming tram and green communicating that it is safe to walk.

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 Seating

The seating in the waiting area has been arranged so that it doesn’t impede traffic flow to and from the train. It also features a built in geothermic climate control system which will keep them at a constant temperature, making the seating comfortable as well as keeping the platform cool in summer and warm in winter.

Technology that Gives you Choice

With Australia’s smart phone ownership growing to almost 65% as of July of 2013, it is important that public transport providers begin to utilise passenger’s personal hardware. Part of our concept is development of a single smart phone application that enhances passenger experience across all modes of public transport.

The core to the functionality of the app is ‘Big Data’; tracking and understanding individual passengers transport habits and patterns. This data will be able to be used to:

  • Suggest activities, retail offerings and places to eat that are convenient to that individual passenger.
  • Offer passengers alternative routes if their tram service is delayed.
  • Track how passengers are using their services, allowing public transport providers to update/change timetables accordingly.

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An added benefit of using personal technology is a reduction in the need to roll out and maintain technology assets across suburban and city tram stops, reducing overheads.

 

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