The design quality of an interchange facility or zone needs to be assessed in terms of the functional effectiveness of its spaces and the surfaces, appearance, arrangements and elements included. From an operator and provider viewpoint, these qualities will reflect the types and status of the services on offer, the markets being addressed and the demand being sought.
The layout of the interchange zone should be based around the predicted and anticipated movements between public transport services, feeder modes and the surrounding urban context.
It should focus on removing barriers to movement, improving circulation, meeting predicted pedestrian and cycling desire lines, minimising conflicting flows and providing clear sight lines to destinations both within and immediately outside the interchange zone.
Natural desire lines should be supported whenever possible - attempting to force passengers into unnecessarily long or circuitous routes can lead to recommended routes being ignored in favour of ones which may place passengers in danger or cause unnecessary pedestrian conflicts.
Materials should always be fit for purpose. High quality materials offering the most attractive appearance should be used when possible. Quality materials are generally longer-lasting and can be more cost effective. Materials used in construction of interchange zones should meet with carbon emission, water and waste use targets, and minimise ongoing energy requirements.
See also Sustainability.
Achieving a high quality finish can have added value in delivering landmark status projects, helping communicate a sense of place or make it a destination in its own right, creating social, economic and environmental value and instilling a sense of civic pride in those who visit and use it.
High quality can also deter antisocial behaviour and vandalism. Wherever possible owners and operators of interchange facilities or zones should seek to ensure that architectural finishes are consistent throughout the interchange zone so that passengers do not experience 'tidemarks' as they pass between areas controlled by different operators.
Materials should be appropriate to the local context and enhance the character and quality of the interchange facility or zone and its functions. Where performance is not hampered, the designer should seek to utilise wholly or partially recycled materials or materials derived from sustainable sources.
The use of tactile paths, good contrast and non-reflective surfaces is essential for visually impaired users to navigate an interchange facility or zone.
See also Accessibility.
Bold, attractive colours should be chosen, and lighting should be appropriate to location and function - not using too much, but focusing on what's important. Illuminated routes should be evenly lit, avoiding sudden changes in levels, glare, dark spots or pooling that could create visual confusion for visually impaired users.
See also Legibility.
We have established standards for the design of products and furniture for public transport facilities to ensure consistency across operating environments and to minimise future life costs for maintenance and replacement. These standards should be referred to as a benchmark for all products used within an interchange zone.
Good soft and hard landscape elements are key to making the interchange zone more attractive and encourage a sense of ownership by its users. It is important that such landscape elements are designed in such a manner to discourage antisocial behaviour, for instance by becoming cover for possible criminal activity or becoming a target for vandalism. The DfT's Secure Station Scheme also supports this, and points out how landscape elements can make a station feel safer, helping to reduce crime.
It is also essential that soft and hard landscape elements are designed in such a way that they can be easily and cost effectively maintained on a regular basis. Examples include shrubs and slow-growing trees; prickly vegetation is ideal as it reduces opportunities for concealment.
Landscape checks should be part of the interchange's regular maintenance procedures.
Local boroughs' open space strategies need to be taken into consideration when planning individual interchanges.