Transport for Greater Manchester have incorporated greening, culture and other services into the upgrade of some of their transport hubs to improve sustainability and deepen a sense of community ownership over these public assets. This is an example of Transport for Greater Manchester’s role in creating social value above and beyond its role as a public transport agency.
Transport hubs don’t just serve to help people get from place to place. They also provide a meeting point for communities. Designing greening, accessibility, culture and additional services into transport facilities can increase a sense of ownership leading to greater footfall and less anti-social behaviour.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, bus stations and interchanges stayed open unlike many other facilities and continued to provide some retail services in addition to their core function as transport hubs. This meant that their prominence as shared public spaces rose.
Transport for Greater Manchester has incorporated public consultation in redesigning transport hubs to increase a sense of ownership and engagement with projects. This has served to create spaces that are more accessible, more welcoming, greener and shaped around local needs
Radical redesign of everyday infrastructure
Prior to Covid-19, there were an estimated six million journeys a day in Greater Manchester. Travel is integral to how we function as a society and transport assets are a place where people connect to each other. It is acknowledged that transport hubs are now places where people come together to eat, shop and access services. Examples of redesign have included:
Public art exhibitions and the stained glass windows in Hyde Bus Station have created a more inviting public space that pays homage to the local historical and cultural heritage.
At Wigan Bus Station, there is tactile signage and bus stand identifiers, as well as colour contrasting wayfinding lines across the site for blind and partially sighted customers.
Sustainability has been built into commissioning and investment with green technology deployed in the Ashton-under-Lyne Interchange which will generate 15% of its electricity from photovoltaic cells.
Wild flower meadow seeds and a cherry tree grove have been planted at Wigan Bus Station to enhance the biodiversity as well as the appearance of the area.
Paypoint systems installed at interchanges have been used by elderly residents amongst others during the pandemic as they were closer to their homes than other options and provided a safer way to make payments.