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Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

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  • 1.  Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-06-2019 07:07

    Hello there,

    I am working as Urban Planner in developing City bus plan for Kabul city in Afghanistan, which includes both operational plan as well as a plan for necessary infrastructure (e.g. stations, terminals, depots, etc.).

    I tried to search a specific standard for developing a land use plan for all these stations, but could not find any.

    Can someone please recommend me a specific manual/ standard which could help me in identifying percent of green area, built-up area and paved area (for bus maneuver and parking).

    Mohammad Mahdi Jafari Assoc. AIA

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  • 2.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-07-2019 22:04
    I have four recommendations for you:

    Write to several urban transit authorities and request information from them.

    Write to bus manufacturing companies and ask them.

    Visit some operating urban transit companies and get first hand information from them. (Tel Aviv or Jerusalem Israel have good systems.)

    Read Colin Buchanon's book "Traffic in Towns". It's a classic.

    Paul Spreiregen FAIA
    Washington DC

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  • 3.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)
    Best Answer

    Posted 03-09-2019 15:45
    It's much harder to try to plan a bus station from the top down.  I have always planned them from the bottom up, based on the planned service:  

    1. Start with the number of bus routes to be served.
    2. Consider whether bus arrivals and departures will be "pulsed" (that is when many routes arrive or depart at the same time, which allows easy transfers when buses are relatively infrequent -- half-hourly or less often).  
    3. If buses are not "pulsed", then depending on the frequency and reliability of service, multiple routes can share berths.
    4. Decide whether bus routes are frequent enough to be assigned berths, versus taking the first open berth.  The latter approach requires some means of communicating to passengers where to go to catch their buses.  People with sensory disabilities (poor vision and/or hearing) benefit from being able to catch the same bus at the same place all the time.
    5. Determine the bus specifications, particularly the length.  A typical 40' (12m) transit bus requires about 55 to 56' (17m) outside turning radius for comfortable turns without backing up, though tighter turns (50' or 15m) may be feasible if the site is really constrained.  Lay out the bus circulation based on these specifications.
    6. Consider the need for some buses to pull in or pull out ahead of or behind other buses.
    7. Allow extra space for buses to queue while entering and exiting the site, depending on traffic on the adjacent roadways.
    8. For buses equipped with wheelchair ramps, a minimum clear platform width for passengers is 8' (2.5m), although I have found 10' to 11' (3 - 3.5m) can better accommodate wheelchair movement.
    9. Add to the minimum platform width as necessary to accommodate passenger amenities such as seating and trash receptacles, shelter structures, signs, ticket machines, other vendors, and so on.  Double-sided platforms may be able to share space, as well.
    10. Green space can fill in the otherwise unused area.  If you need to accommodate storm water infiltration on site, allow about 10% of the paved area for drainage swales or basins (that is based on Sacramento, California, which has just a little more annual rainfall than Kabul).

    As you can tell, the space needs will vary depending on the desired level of bus service and the geometry of the site.

    The other way you can proceed is to find an available, well-located piece of property and squeeze a bus station on it as best as possible.  But the level of bus service may be constrained by the available space.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!
    - David Solomon, AIA, CASp
    State of California Department of General Services

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  • 4.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-10-2019 00:47
    This is Very useful and active community of experts that I have ever seen! glad to be here.

    Thanks for your response.

    Mohammad Mahdi Jafari Assoc. AIA
    ARC Group Architecture & Construction Services

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  • 5.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-11-2019 15:12

    I'm glad you're searching for site plan ratios that relate to building design categories occupied by specific activity groups. These ratios define the shelter capacity, intensity, intrusion, and dominance introduced. They also determine the amount of land we remove from our source of life. I'm not aware of research that has collected or related these statistics to the physical, social, psychological, environmental, and economic quality of life created. I think this is what you're looking for and you might ask for completed project site plans to measure. A visit these projects may be unrealistic from your location and evaluation may be limited to requested photographs. I'd like to suggest that these standard measurements include at least the following as both area and percentage quantity measurements:

    1)      Building Cover (Footprint)

    2)      Open Space (Private Unpaved Area for Social Activity)

    3)      Open Space (Shared (Common) Unpaved Area for Social Activity)

    4)      Pavement for Social Activities

    5)      Pavement for Miscellaneous Pedestrian Activity

    6)      Pavement for Service Activities (Parking, Loading, and Driveway Circulation)

    7)      Floor Quantity (ignore percentage measurement)

    8)      Floor Quantity Average for Variations (ignore percentage measurement)

    If you're looking for pattern language suggestions, you might consult the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) and Architectural Graphic Standards. I doubt that they will give you any guidance on unpaved open space quantities since this has never been a priority and is often sacrificed to make a project "fit" the site. The Institute used to have a great binder of clear plastic overlays at various scales for turning movements related to various car and truck sizes. They may still have them. Good luck

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  • 6.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-12-2019 02:25
    Thank you Mr. Hosack, By your suggestions and other respects members now we know how to shape our conceptual package for public transport bus station.

    Unfortunately the sites geometry are not specified yet, so we want to purpose a typical package with specified requirements  and facilities.

    Thank you for you kind cooperation.

    Mohammad Mahdi Jafari Assoc. AIA
    ARC Group Architecture & Construction Services

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  • 7.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-12-2019 18:01
    Thanks for using this forum for your inquiry.
    From how I understand your question you want to set aside areas for bus stations, terminal and depots in a metropolitan land use plan.  You also mention FAR which shouldn't matter much since these things are usually not multi-story (sometimes they are, especially if bus stations are integrated into a multimodal facility.
    My firm has designed transit centers (what you call stations) and also bus depots and maintenance facilities. As previous responders indicated, the areas needed for those unctions totally depend on how many buses and routes are involved and what type buses you use.
    US buses are usually 12.20 m long, some are articulated and are 16.75m long.  Some countries use or plan to use longer double articulated buses. I understand that bus stations in your country may look quite different from here in the US since you have many local and long distance buses, probably in the same location.
    The area you need is driven by the turning radius of buses and the way (at stations) how you load and unload passengers. The most common way do this along island platforms where different routes line up behind each other. US bus operators like sawtooth bays because buses can get easier in and out behind other buses. However, architecturally, they make the design "messier".

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD

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  • 8.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-13-2019 01:08
      |   view attached
    Thank you Mr. Philipsen for your kind response!

    Yes, exactly you right about FAR but, it would be good if we mention some international Codes and sources in narrative chapter ...

    For Bus's size I should say mostly are the same as US, our articulated buses manufactured by Man and Mini or normal buses will purchase from ISUZU company. I have attached a DRAFT of OD Stations layout for more understanding what we gonna do, it's almost a conceptual plan and narrative report for Ministry of Transportation, and they can do details plan with reference to narrative and guide line requirements.

    Mohammad Mahdi Jafari Assoc. AIA
    ARC Group Architecture & Construction Services


    A105 revision-NOR ST.pdf   531K 1 version
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  • 9.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-13-2019 17:38
    This looks like long distance bus stations in the US, where one boards or disboards only through the front door of the bus and where dwell time in the station is long enough to warrant the rather complicated movement of the bus which includes backing out of its bay.

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD

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  • 10.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-13-2019 18:44

    Hey all,

    Just also - please consider the All-Electric Bus Models, which need to be ‚fueled' (charged) in a different way, so this may influence routing and operations.

    But first things first ...

    Good Luck!

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  • 11.  RE: Bus Station's FAR (Floor Area Ration)

    Posted 03-14-2019 09:45
    As Mr. Philipsen noted, there is a difference in design of stations for transit (local) versus long-distance (Intercity) buses.  

    Unless your bus company can afford to hire someone to serve as a "spotter" to watch for people in the way, please avoid having buses back up in areas accessible to the public - remember the driver can't see out the back of the bus!

    I have always preferred the sawtooth design that you show in some of your concepts, but you need more platform area at the narrow points than what you are showing -- I would recommend at least 3m minimum width, 4m if you can get it, and more if you can fill it with amenities such as tree planting.

    I recommend that you avoid the designs where one bus pulls up immediately behind another, because then the rear bus can't leave until the front one does, and buses laying over must move forward to make space behind them.

    As Mr. Hosack mentioned, planning green space in from the beginning is important.  In every charrette or forum I have had with communities in Sacramento (which has a similar summer climate as Kabul, but not as cold in the winter), trees have always been the top priority, for their shade and beauty both.   I can imagine a courtyard garden linking the bus boarding areas....

    Thanks again for providing an opportunity for this forum to help out!

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