Sustainable Principles in Transportation Hubs: Seville and Florence, Spain
TMK 02 - 04 - 2010

In modern cities, much of what drives sustainable practices revolves around transportation. A well organized network of public transportation, (in my book), can be the most important sustainable practice that any city can implement. In the European cities we have seen so far, it is commonplace for the public to use [street]trams, city bus, scooters, bike networks, and subway/metro daily. A transportation hub is a plaza or designated area where many of these methods of transportation converge for the ease of public use. Puerta de Jerez in Seville and Piazza San Marco in Florence exhibit many of these qualities that help to implement these sustainable principles in transportation. In Seville, we started our walking tour in a central plaza [Puerta de Jerez: bottom right sketch] that provided connections to different areas of the city via personal vehicle, [street]tram, public bus system, and of course bikes/scooters. This plaza is successful because it provides a central landmark feature with a large fountain, comfortable gathering for the public through seating and restaurants, and circulation connections via the methods mentioned above (and seen in the sketch). Two main transportation corridors provide cross axes that allow the city bus and the tram to circulate. Smaller corridors branch off into the city, that better accommodate the less hectic forms of transportation; pedestrians, scooters, bikes, and small vehicles. This cooperation between circulation networks is what allows Puerta de Jerez in Seville to be a successful transportation hub that can promote sustainable principles through use of public transportation. In Florence, I found a much more interactive transportation hub in Piazza San Marco [sketch: middle right][and picture: top right]. As the sketch shows, the circulation is a lot more complex, but the same principles apply in promoting sustainable public transportation. The inner circle and outer sidewalk are successful as gathering spaces for pedestrians waiting on bus. The bus network is the main circulation through this space, but the most impressive sight are the number of scooters and bikes that converge to use this space. Hundreds of either line the outside of the inner circle, almost creating a protective cocoon. It is easy for these residents to transfer modes of transportation here because a central hub is provided. Once again, sustainability through a successful [and utilized!!] network of public transportation. Why!? then are these spaces successful in implementing design principles in transportation that we study as 'sustainable'. It is because a combination of design considerations is at work. 1) The public must be attracted to this space: in both examples here we see central landmarks, green space, restaurants, and pedestrian gathering space that accomplish this. 2) Location, location, location!!: it is essential that the central hub is situated upon multiple networks of the cities' public transportation; again, accomplished in both piazzas. And 3) Diversity! the space must be friendly to pedestrians, bicycles, scooters, personal vehicles, city bus, tram, and metro; any mode of transportation that will contribute to these sustainable practices of moving residents (and visitors) around the city.

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