CAPS – Climate Adapted People Shelter

CAPS logo

CAPS is a design competition to reimagine current bus shelters to be smart and adapted to increasing urban heat in Western Sydney.

Bus shelters are seldom designed with ‘shelter’ in mind; their location and construction is predicated on a model that focuses on the placement of advertising, safety and the operational needs of transport authorities. While needs of some of the most vulnerable users like elderly, school kids, young families and the poor are often overlooked, particularly in light of increased exposure to urban heat and other weather extremes. This project aims at co-creating and researching the implications for climate adapted and smart urban infrastructure designs with a focus on re-imagining the old bus shelter.

CAPS is a collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures, U.lab and Centre for Management & Organisation Studies, the NSW Climate Adaptation Research Hub and the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University (WSU). We are determined to develop exciting new concepts for urban infrastructure. Our project is planned as an open innovation design competition, using methods of human centered design, participation from multiple stakeholders, and a research agenda to verify the effectiveness of outcomes and to make policy and design recommendation in times of climate change and digitization.

Urban heat affects the poor and vulnerable

Over the past 100 years, heat waves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. By 2030, Western Sydney is projected to experience up to 7 additional days above 35°C per year placing exposed communities, including Sydney’s 600,000 daily bus users, at heightened risk. By 2031 Sydney’s bus users will make in excess of 1.3 million journeys per day (NSW Govt 2013) with buses being the most accessible form of public transport for many of Sydney’s most vulnerable community members.

Surfcae temperatureFigure 1: Surface temperature map of a typical Western Sydney suburb. Blue circles are bus stops with urban heat islands.

The NSW State Transit Bus Infrastructure Guide advises that bus shelters should provide a comfortable, convenient, reliable, and safe service that is accessible to all while addressing the requirements of the elderly, those with reduced mobility, vision and hearing impaired; and people with young children, strollers and prams. These groups are often most dependent on public transport and among the most vulnerable to the effects of urban heat.

How CAPS works

The project has three stages: Stage 1 (in progress) is to plan and complete the co-design of bus shelters in four local government areas (LGA) via an open design competition. The competition launches in February 2016. Stage 2 includes the construction of winning designs and the concurrent Stage 3 comprises research activities in regards to three interdependent research agendas of resilience, digitization and co-creation. The research stage will inform future urban infrastructure development in regards to more effective and inclusive design practices, resilience and climate adapted designs, and the opportunities that lie within the use of data analytics and sensor technologies.

The project addresses the complex challenges of exposure to urban heat and smart public transport infrastructure in order to achieve better solutions for the people who live in our cities. We believe that better designed public infrastructure makes public space more liveable while also helping to create a city that is better connected and more affordable.

The CAPS project is supported through the Building Resilience to Climate Change grants scheme, funded by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the NSW Environmental Trust and administered by Local Government NSW.

For more information please contact the CAPS project manager
Ms. Lee Wallace at  leanne.wallace [at]

See also the competition schedule and detailed shelter locations.

You can find us on Facebook and follow #CAPSyd on Twitter.


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