A transit design should always have the comfort and convenience of the commuters as a priority. An innovative transit design would take this comfort to the next level with the use of technology and give its best to the users. A transit unit or hub being a public space, is visited by many, and thus its efficiency and beauty spread through multiple mediums. It should also cater to making a commute hassle-free, and that’s where its beauty lies. 

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A transit hub need not be a mere mode of transport building or space, just left to be on its own accord. It is something that is observed frequently in our country. We can try to make a public amenity a good public space; a clean, hygienic, and more livable environment. The British made a railway station in the economical capital of our country, and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I am sure we can keep the legacy on and use our transit hubs with slightly more ownership. 

Below are a few examples of transit hubs that stood out for having a particular element that was not conventional, something people had not seen or experienced till these came up. 

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1.Marina Bay cruise terminal 

While arriving in Singapore by water, one would hardly miss this massive berthing terminal, also known as the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore (MBCCS). It offers not just one but a plethora of impressive views of the skyline of downtown Singapore and its straits. It is lined up with a lot of allied attractions such as Gardens by the Bay and Marina Barrage. A Singapore trip would be incomplete without visiting this magnificent terminal of a place. 

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2.Shibuya junction crossing, Tokyo, Japan

The Shibuya junction crossing in Tokyo, Japan is not a very conventional one. Japan is quite a populous country with equivalent density and flow of vehicles on its roads. On the Shibuya crossing, the traffic control signals have been designed to allow vehicular movement straight up in a go and let the pedestrians halt. On the next jump, all vehicles stop and pedestrians from all directions just rush across the other side of the pavement. This type of crossing pattern or design has not been used much, but seems to function pretty perfectly at this particular junction in Shibuya.

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3.Falkirk Wheel, Scotland 

The Falkirk Wheel is one of its kind, opened to the public in 2002. Its merely a boatlift, but to its engineering and technology best. It connects the Forth and Clyde Canal (1790) and the Union Canal (1822), at different levels. The early 19th century brought the realization of the use of canals for public recreation and leisure, and thus had the work on Falkirk Wheel begun. It is a 115 ft high engineering marvel that has been drawing tourists from all over the world.

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4.King Cross square, London 

Someone who takes public transport for daily commute very well understands how important a modal change is. Getting down from a railway to get into a bus or a taxi, is equally stressful. If this modal change is designed efficiently or by taking into account the possible difficulties that daily commuters face, it would change things around and make life easy. The pedestrian plaza immediately outside Kings Cross station, known as Kings Cross square, is a perfect example of how to deal with modal change. It is a substantially large plaza without any hustle of vehicular traffic and adequate space for people to sit and rest before taking the next mode of transport. To make it better for pedestrians, it allows them to grab a quick bite, read newspapers, drink some water, or just take a small break before hopping on to the other transport medium.

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5.Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai (Former Victoria Terminus)

Every time you look at it, it has something new to offer, those gargoyles, the gothic motifs, and every element of the building interacts with you. It has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in 1887, it still caters to the current population of daily commuters. Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, it is now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). It’s one of the finest examples of Victorian and Gothic styles of architecture, in the country and the world.

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6.Liziba Metro Station, Chongqing, China

Liziba is probably the only station in the world and first of its kind which is squeezed into a mixed-use, predominantly residential building in the Chongqing district of China. It’s amazing to see how the vibrations of the metro movement do not hamper the structure in any way. It’s an efficiently thought of and designed station, to save on space and energy.

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7.Guillemins TGV Railway Station, Belgium

The station connects two parts of the city earlier separated by railway tracks. The commissioned architect Santiago Calatrava, wanted to create a building without facades and letting the form of the building take its identity. The building was supposed to be Monumental and expressive, airy and transparent, which it eventually turned out.

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8.Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport, France

Designed by architect-engineer Santiago Calatrava this building breathes in and out because of its structure.

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9.Kansai International Airport 

Renzo Piano, known for his technological experiments on buildings, was commissioned for this project and his work can be seen distinctly from the photographs. Visually it is the lightest structure for an airport and the longest one so far. It was constructed on an artificial island away from the main city so as to have flights running around the clock without disturbing the residents of Osaka. It’s far more superior in terms of the materials, and one must visit to experience its graceful slenderness.

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Kansai International Airport - sheet1
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10.Bus Rapid Transit System, Curitiba 

Curitiba was the first city in the world to come up with a bus system as efficient and sturdy as the rail system in other cities to cater to its public transport issues. Earlier being a mafia town and a breeding ground for many illegal activities and increasing drug addictions. The intervention of the Bus Rapid Transit system in the city scaled up employment and helped reduce all of the illegal activities. It gave Curitiba a place and name on the globe. Curitiba became the first city to have used urban planning policies to eradicate anti social elements and activities from its roots. The BRTS initiated by Curitiba is seen as a model while designing similar systems across the globe.

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Author

An architect from Bombay, after graduation, he further studied Sustainable Architecture. Since then, he has been associated with a research organisation, working on urban development policies of Mumbai, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI). Here, he has worked on projects that have strengthened his knowledge about the city. He is inclined towards researching public transportation alternatives, policies and infrastructure for pedestrians in cities, affordable housing, urban recreational spaces and non-conventional construction techniques.

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