Christchurch Bus Interchange, New Zealand

Aurecon helps transform Christchurch’s public transport experience after earthquake devastates vital infrastructure.

After a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in 2011, most of the city’s infrastructure and buildings sustained damage and were subsequently demolished. A key objective of the recovery effort was to establish Christchurch as an ‘accessible city’.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) recognised the importance of a new, highly efficient public transport hub in revitalising the city and commissioned Aurecon, in partnership with Architectus, to design and document the new Christchurch Bus Interchange.

Aurecon’s design objective for the new interchange was to put people first, focusing on an integrated transport and land use solution.

The result was a flexible, multi-tiered mode interchange hub that enables access to buses, intercity coaches, taxis and a central cycle parking pace. The new interchange has also transformed the overall transit experience with its airport-style lounge and high level of amenity.

A high-end transit experience

The new interchange is an ‘L-shaped’ concourse which has been constructed as two seismically separated buildings and designed for optimal pedestrian permeability.

The hub’s double-height vaulted roof allows light to penetrate the space whilst large timber pods under the main steel roof provide an overwhelming impression of space and amenity upon entry.

Inside, passengers enjoy an airport-style lounge facility with easy access to retail and cafes around the perimeter, whilst outside a public open space is shaded by a towering cantilever roof structure.

The customer experience is also enhanced by a naturally ventilated environment which exploits geothermal energy drawn from an aquafer 70 meters below ground; future-proofed to become an energy node on the CBD energy scheme.

Unique application of backing buses

First delivered in the UK, the Christchurch Bus Interchange involved one of the first applications of backing buses in New Zealand. Designing for this manoeuvre has delivered a highly-efficient transit experience, allowing for up to 96 bus movements per hour between sixteen buses.

However, due to the relatively tight constraints of the circular bus interchange site, drivers must use reverse driving methods out of each busy bay so the required number of bus services can be accommodated. To help Christchurch bus drivers get up to speed on the city's new bus interchange, Aurecon developed a virtual reality training simulator.

Learn more about the use of virtual reality to train Christchurch bus drivers in the case study below:

Reshaping the city

Aurecon’s expertise in bus operations, field testing, spatial and geometrical planning, as well as extensive consultation with key stakeholders resulted in an exemplar project delivery.

The interchange delivers an integrated transport and urban design solution which acts as a welcoming gateway into the heart of the city, as well as supporting a growing public transport network.

Completed in 2015, the project was delivered within a very short time period by adopting a design and construct delivery method, working with Southbase Construction.

Award winning

The project has won the following award for Aurecon:

  • Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) Innovate Awards of Excellence 2017 – Silver 

Images courtesy of Architectus

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