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.

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

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