Project

Assessing alternative sites for the Bülach bus station

Development opportunities for the Bülach bus station are limited owing to the station’s current location at the Bülach railway station, where space is constrained by two tracks in the direction of Zurich and Winterthur. Considerably more space would be available on the east side of the railway station. Working on behalf of the city of Bülach, EBP compared the two site options and drafted a recommendation for the station’s future location

Project rationale

Working on behalf of the town of Bülach, EBP launched and oversaw an architectural design competition (2015 to 2017) for the Herti District immediately south of the Bülach railway station. The architects who responded to the call to tender were required to include the development of the bus station in their project proposals. Four of the five architectural teams based their plans for the bus station’s development in the context of the larger Herti project on the station’s current "Center" site, while one of the team’s proposals was based on relocation of the bus station to an "East" site.

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Figure 1: Bus station "Center" and bus station "East" at the Bülach train station

While the site selection "East" that was made by the one team reflected a development idea espoused by various stakeholders in the town of Bülach, the selection was not based on a systematic examination of the site’s impact, i.e. the various advantages and disadvantages that would follow from its selection. That is why the town of Bülach commissioned EBP to compare the two locations and to thereby establish the key criteria for the overall Herti District development project.

Procedure

To compare the two possible sites for the bus station, EBP assessed the following factors:

  • Impact of relocated bus stops on the ease of current and future bus routing, forward compatibility with developments in public transportation in general and bus services in particular
  • Ease of access to and from the new bus station (entrance, exit, on-site maneuverability; versions with/without central perron), with special consideration given to traffic volume, vehicle paths, etc.
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Figure 2: Vehicle paths and optimization measures when departing the bus stops
  • Impact on pedestrian walkways, ease of transfer from bus to bus and from bus to train, with special consideration given to the needs of disabled persons
  • Impact on other possible activities on the east side of the railway station: loading, transshipment, park+ride, kiss+ride, bike+ride, taxi services
  • Impact of the bus station on space allocation and design (necessary traffic lanes, lines of sight)
  • Estimated cost of adapting the underpass and the above-ground infrastructure for the relocated bus station

Comparison of the two proposed bus station sites

Results:

  • Keeping the bus station at its current "Center" site would offer more planning security and enable quicker site renovation
  • Relocating the bus station to the "East" site would lead to increased travel times for the buses and could therefore also shorten the time available to change buses or change from bus to train, effectively leading to unstable scheduling
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Figure 3: Changed routing and longer travel times as a result of relocating the bus station to the east side of the train station
  • Changes in the ease of passenger transitioning from bus to bus or from bus to train can be expected to be minimal
  • The "East" site includes a transshipment facility operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). Replacing the facility would be a costly undertaking. Plans have also been made to use the site for yet other purposes. The city would have to remunerate the property owner, SBB, accordingly.
  • Compared to expanding the current site, relocating the bus station to the "East" site would entail considerable additional costs. The costs would be incurred because of the need for above-ground structures, expansion of the existing underpass, remuneration payments to SBB and the relocation of SBB’s transshipment facility.

Recommendation and further steps

Based on its findings, EBP advised the town of Bülach to refrain from relocating the bus station to the east side of the railway station and to keep it at its current "Center" site. After considering this recommendation, the town decided to restrict the focus of its bus-station planning efforts to the "Center" site.

Picture Credits: Bundesamt für Landestopografie swisstopo