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Associate Professor, Massey University

Imran Muhammad is an Associate Professor and Programme Coordinator Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University, New Zealand where he teaches courses on transport and urban design. He is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), UK and currently serving as a Deputy Chair of RTPI Accreditation and Partnership Board for the University of Hong Kong.


Public Transport as Public Space

UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 set a target for each country to "make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" by 2030. Target 11.2 demands to develop of an accessible and sustainable transport system. In New Zealand, the Government Policy Statement (GPS) on land transport addresses this global target by increasing investment in public transport. However, this investment mainly targets building new projects and increasing the frequency and reliability of existing public transport while ignoring the improvement of people's experience in public transport.


There is limited literature in planning and urban design disciplines which recognised buses/trains and their shelters/stations as a part of public spaces. This presentation aims to explore the notion of public transport as a form of "public space" to achieve a vision of a liveable and accessible city. We used urban design literature on 'what makes a great place', and analyse bus shelters in Palmerston North and train/bus stations in Auckland. The research concludes that planners should prioritise public transport users well-being, safety and everyday experience by employing a placemaking approach to transport infrastructure. The research recommends improving public transport spaces by establishing connections to place, design and stories to enrich people experiences.

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