Bus stop design should support the outcomes of Road to Zero, the national road safety strategy.

The safety of users of bus stops is paramount. This includes road safety aspects incorporating the harm minimisation principles of Vision Zero and the Safe System as well as the personal safety and security of people waiting at stops and the health and safety of bus drivers.

Vision Zero for system designers

Road to Zero – NZ’s road safety strategy

Safe System principles and considerations for designers and planners


Diagram of four Safe System principles when considering the design and location of bus stops.

Safe system principles.

Designers and planners should apply four Safe System principles when considering the design and location of bus stops:

  • promote good choices but plan for mistakes
  • design for human vulnerability
  • strengthen all parts of the road transport system
  • recognise shared responsibility.

Important safety and security considerations

Consider the following important road safety issues to support Safe System outcomes.

  • Review, at project inception, existing road layouts and public transport routes and include them for consideration when determining the most suitable location for a new or existing bus stop (for example if you are looking at rebalancing bus stops).
  • Consider land ownership issues and knowledge of future developments (for example, new shopping centres) that may affect traffic and pedestrian flows and routes to and from a preferred site.
  • Design the layout to minimise and manage pedestrian–vehicle conflict by considering, where possible:
    • the position of a bus stop in respect of key local developments (for example, shops and rail stations) so pedestrian routes flow directly to adjacent developments, minimising the need for vehicles to cross paths
    • all passenger and pedestrian routes (desire lines), and design for crossing points accordingly.
  • Manage vehicle speeds, particularly around crossings so vehicles travel at a survivable speed for pedestrians.
  • Provide appropriate crossing facilities for pedestrians, actively manage and dissuade parking near bus stops and consider the needs of cyclists.

To support personal safety and security consider the following.

  • Locate and design bus stops including shelters to minimise the opportunity for crime and increase the perception of personal security.
  • Consider, where practicable, other aspects of network development. Locate the bus stop near trip generators and activity centres where natural public surveillance occurs.
  • Balance the provision of opportunities for passive surveillance and intrusion into the privacy of neighbouring residences. Consider the potential for intrusion on privacy when inspecting the site. Placing bus stops at more isolated locations to avoid potential objections can negatively affect passenger safety and security, creating a barrier to increasing public transport use.

Wayfinding is the process of ascertaining one's position and planning and following a route. It is an important element of safety and security. Pedestrians and passengers feel safer and more secure if they feel (and are) less likely to get lost and maintain their confidence in the route continuing to their intended destination. Consider wayfinding carefully for larger interchange sites and integrate bus stop locations with local street mapping displays and facilities. Where possible, promote access for people who cannot see (or cannot see well) or cannot read wayfinding information, by making it audible as well as visible.

The presence of security (for example, security guards and security cameras) can bring comfort to customers. However:

  • the presence of security guards may give a false sense that an area has a high crime rate, so they are best used at large interchanges or interchanges with higher crime rates where people already expect active surveillance
  • security cameras require agreements between organisations such as the New Zealand Police, bus companies and councils about how video footage will be managed and accessed.

In terms of design elements:

  • make the bus stop and shelter visible from all sides with sight lines unobstructed by trees or buildings, use clear (transparent) shelters to improve sight lines, and provide clear rear vision sight lines for bus drivers
  • consider lighting, because it is an essential element that improves safety and security for passengers, and using existing lighting, which is cheaper than implementing new lighting
  • install signage and lighting that is not easily removed and does not give an impression the stop is unkempt, and plan for regular maintenance to maintain a sense of belonging and a welcoming environment
  • deter loitering and sleeping at bus stops (for example, give benches armrests at the ends and in the middle of the bench).
  • apply the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to support actual and perceived safety and security

Further guidance