Foto: FPP Eviro, Białystok City Office
Green Bus Stops
Honourable mention in the Adapterra Awards 2019
Three green bus stops were built in the city of Białystok, Poland, to battle environmental problems related to climate changes. They have green roofs with substrate and vegetation mats and the developers also added evergreen climbers on the sides, effectively watering the plants and protecting them against frost.
The Adaptation Journey
The positive impact
According to an analysis, biggest dangers for the city of Białystok are such extreme phenomena as intense rainfall, strong winds, droughts and heat waves.
Green bus stops were designed to collect water during rainfalls and can drain and store litres of water in collector boxes and vegetation on the roof and walls. This also helps to lower the temperature in the surroundings and increase the humidity, making the environment for people waiting fot their bus more comfortable and pleasant.
How does it work?
Thanks to the innovative construction, the green bus stops can retain up to 250 litres of rainfall water. During an intense storm, the excess of water is drained and collected into vegetated infiltration box. For safety purposes, emergency outflow is added to the system.
Additional greenery and local water retention lowers the temperature for up to even 10 °C and limits urban heat island, providing extra green area with 10 square metres on the roof and additional 12 square metres on the walls, increasing air humidity and so making the area more friendly for climate change sensitive inhabitants, especially children and elderly or asthma suffering people.
Conventional, single-function grey infrastructure bus stops.
Operation and maintenance
The costs of maintenance may vary from 1500 to 3000 EUR per year. During the first three months intensive watering is needed and after that occasional cleaning, fertilizing, trimming, and in case of longer heat waves, more watering.
Thanks to installing three green bus stops in Białystok and two demonstrative green bus stops in Radom (Poland), more than 20 cities have shown their interest in implementation.
Why was the measure chosen?
The conventional construction of the shelters were not strong enough to hold all the weight of vegetation and extra water, that is why it was decided to use completely new design of bus stops.
Different vegetation and plant types were considered. Sedum in mixed vegetation on the roof was chosen as the most resilient and climbers on the walls were most economic, resilient and optimal for maintenance.
This solution addresses three of four Białystoks climate dangers and makes the current city infrastructure better for inhabitants. Green bus stop clever construction creates small but significant changes throughout the city, making it possible to build these little green islands one by one and gradually on the whole area of the city.
Obstacles and challenges
The biggest challenge was to design the shelters to withstand higher weights connected to added vegetation and water retention. Other challenges were in building a flow system for additional retention and infiltration, making sure that the vegetation and even the construction itself are able to overcome city climate conditions and also creating a design that is easily installed and pleasant looking.
How much did it cost?
Capital costs are around 18,000 EUR per shelter, including shelter construction, green roof insulation, retention, substrate and vegetation layers, climbers for the green wall, and additional accessories: bench, advertisement display, litter bin etc.
Expected return of investment is 10 percentage and the investment life expectancy is two months. Savings are difficult to calculate at this stage of the project.
Urban greenery Use of rainwater Shading Heat waves and thermal island Extreme wind Floods and torrential rainfall Lack of water and drought