New bus shelters which can improve air quality, generate their own power and attract pollinators are being trialled in Halesowen. Transport for West Midlands is working with the Halesowen Business Improvement District and Halesowen in Bloom to provide plant-topped bus shelters to improve the town centre environment.
Made from recycled materials the roofs of the shelters include plants designed to maximise carbon capture in the environment as well as filters to catch fine particles and improve air quality.
Wild flowers, which attract bees and other pollinators, will grow from the eaves and roof edges and appear during the spring, turning the bus stops to buzz stops, according to the scheme’s backers.
In addition, there are solar panels which generate power for the display screens and lights and also allow people to charge their mobile phones for free while waiting for the bus.
If the trial proves successful, TfWM says that more of the environmentally friendly stops could be installed as it renews around 5,000 bus shelters across the region.
“As we face this climate emergency it is important we look at new ways of improving our environment,” says Kath Hartley, chair of TfWM’s transport delivery committee. “Not only can it make a difference to the air we breathe but offers real convenience for bus passengers with the offer of free solar-powered phone charging while they wait – a great innovation. I look forward to seeing more of these shelters on our streets in future.”
The West Midlands Combined Authority says it has placed the climate change challenge at the centre of plans for the future of transport in the region as part of the wider plans for a net-zero carbon region by 2041 as well as contributing to the UK’s ‘Race to Net Zero’ efforts in the lead-up to COP26 in November.