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Thermal Comfort Evaluation of Phoenix Transit Stops


Public transportation systems represent an intersecting point between urban climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Increasing the use of public transit systems can help cities meet a wide range of sustainability and health goals including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Simultaneously, public transit use typically necessitates exposure to outdoor weather. In extreme climates, uncomfortable or dangerous weather conditions may suppress public transportation system without sufficient infrastructure to moderate exposure.


Researchers present results from an ongoing research project in the hot desert city of Phoenix, Arizona that aims to analyze and improve public transit riders’ experiences and resilience to heat. Researchers used environmental measurements and surveys to assess environments, conditions, and the behaviors and perceptions of public transit riders. Survey data revealed key behaviors and perceptions that should influence transit stop design strategies: stops that are perceived more beautiful and pleasant are also rated as more thermally comfortable; riders identified infrastructure elements and coping behaviors that make them feel cooler.

Findings also showed that current infrastructure standards and material choices for bus stops are not ideal for providing thermal comfort and can contribute to hotter microclimates. As cities in warming climates shift toward increasing the use of public transit, continued attention to the experiences and preferences of transit riders—especially during the summer months—will improve the likelihood that they can meet or exceed public transportation and sustainability goals.


Poster – Dzyuban, Y., Hondula, D., Redman, C. and Middel, A., Analyzing transit-based heat exposure and behaviors to enhance urban climate adaptation and mitigation strategies in the southwest USA.

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