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.
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: