As Heat Waves Become More Common, Bus Shelters Are Needed to Keep Transit Riders Onboard

As climate change brings prolonged, intense heat waves to cities once associated with rain and cold weather will have to attend to the lack of shelter provided to bus and transit riders.

1 minute read

August 30, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bus Stop and Bike Lane

Green Lane Project / Flickr

Michelle Baruchman reports on the state of bus shelters in the city of Seattle, which has weathered a summer beset by record high temperatures—a sign of more heat waves to come as the planet's climate changes.

Baruchman cites data quantifying the city's bus shelters ("Of the approximately 7,500 Metro bus stops across King County, 1,700 have bus shelters…") before interviewing a question-and-answer session with researcher Kevin Lanza, who in 2019 published an article, along with Casey P. Durand, that  explored the importance of bus shelters and trees for moderating heat.

In the interview, Lanza states that high temperatures are reducing transit ridership. In Lanza's words:

Trees have been shown to modestly reduce the effect of extreme heat on ridership or reduce the losses of ridership from extreme heat. Bus stop shelters don’t have that same association but both bus stop shelters and trees are proven heat management strategies that can in some specific instances be used exclusively or together to assist with climate adaptation of transportation networks.

While Los Angeles frequently makes news for transit shelter shenanigans, Seattle too passed up a chance to enter a public-private partnership to improve its shelters in 2018. The underfunding and mismanagement of bus and transit shelters is a nationwide problem, as detailed in an article from February 2020.

Saturday, August 21, 2021 in The Seattle Times

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Archer Aviation Midnight eVTOL aircraft on display at Dubai Airshow November 13th 2023, dark colors, bright background, indoors. Electric aircraft, electric helicopter.

FAA Approves Air Taxis

Two Bay Area companies are planning to develop autonomous commuter flight services between San Francisco and local cities.

June 24, 2024 - Smart Cities Dive

People on bikes riding across 4th Street Bridge in Los Angeles during 2010 CicLAvia event.

The ‘Virtuous Circle’ of Bikeability

Research reveals that, once a city reaches a certain threshold of bike infrastructure, opposition decreases and residents want more.

2 hours ago - Streetsblog USA

Overhead view of black asphalt parking lot with white lined parking spots with EV charging logos.

Study Highlights Equity Gaps in California's EV Incentives

A UCLA research team identifies gaps in incentive uptake and electric vehicle registration rates in disadvantaged communities.

3 hours ago - UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation

Three dark brown wild horses stand in a meadow near Farson, Wyoming.

Utah and Wyoming Sue BLM Over Conservation Rule

The states allege the agency overstepped federal regulations in its attempt to boost conservation efforts on public lands.

4 hours ago - WyoFile

Senior Planner

Town of Los Altos Hills

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.