This is draft guidance, and we welcome your feedback
This section discusses the critical dimensions and performance characteristics of buses which typically operate in New Zealand.
Bus dimensions vary by bus type, but all buses operating in New Zealand must comply with the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule 2016.
Additionally, all urban buses must comply with the vehicle standards contained in the Requirement for urban buses in New Zealand, unless a variation has been sought and approved from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
The features below need to be considered when determining the amount of space required for the design of public transport facilities:
*Unless a variation has been sought and approved from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
It is expected that public transport facilities are designed to accommodate the ‘standard’ vehicle dimensions, including provision of a bicycle rack to account for future proofing.
Note that the Vehicle Dimensions and Mass Rule and the Requirement for urban buses take precedence over the dimensions contained in the table below if there are any discrepancies.
It is recommended that designers confirm the current and future public transport fleet characteristics early in the design process. There are certain bus vehicle types such as articulated buses and coaches, where the designer may need to consider a ‘non-standard’ design. To design for articulated vehicles and/or coaches, it is recommended that the designer source further vehicle dimension information specific to these ‘non-standard’ vehicles from the relevant manufacturers prior to commencing any infrastructure design work.
Within this guidance, unless indicated otherwise, the layouts and guidance provided in the table below are based on the ‘standard’ dimensions for single-deck and double-deck buses.
Vehicle characteristics and dimensions
|Vehicle characteristics||‘Standard’ bus dimensions|
|Small single deck bus||Large single deck bus||Double deck bus|
|Length – vehicle only||10.0m||13.5m||12.5m|
|Length – vehicle with bicycle rack||11.0m||14.5m||13.5m|
|Width (including mirrors)||2.85m||2.85m||2.85m|
|Ground clearance||75mm (at axles)||75mm (at axles)||75mm (at axles)|
|Front door height – normal and kneeling||320–370mm (normal) and 245-280mm (kneeling)||320–370mm (normal) and 245–280mm (kneeling)||320-370mm (normal) and 245–280mm (kneeling)|
|Rear door height||350mm||350mm||350mm|
|Turning circle (wall to wall)*||22.0m||25.0m||25.0m|
Example of ‘standard’ bus types applicable to the NZ Public Transport Design Guidelines (Credit: Lorelei Schmitt)
The location of doors on urban buses is an important consideration when thinking about the design of interchanges and accessible bus stops.
At bus stops, the area around doors should be kept clear of obstructions to allow passengers to board and alight. The location of doors determines where tactile pavers should be placed in order to assist customers with limited vision to locate the front door.
The image below shows the typical location of front and rear doors for urban buses in New Zealand. Front doors are generally located forward of the front axle and immediately opposite to the driver. Rear doors are generally located in front of the rear wheels. Due to the varying layouts of urban buses, the location of the rear door for some makes of bus may differ from typical layouts which should be factored into designs.
Bus vehicle tracking and swept-path analysis should be undertaken to convert vehicle characteristics and dimensions into specific design requirements for bus stop and layover infrastructure.
Tracking involves simulating the path or position of a vehicle’s tyres to ensure there is enough space (horizontally) for it to manoeuvre safely and efficiently, particularly when undertaking turning movements and tight manoeuvres on the road surface. The swept-path envelope is used to indicate, for example, when buses navigate tight corners the front swing and tail swing of the bus can extend over the kerb line or lane centre line which can conflict with other road users, roadside structures or street furniture.
A key consideration in the process of vehicle tracking is the speed with which the bus can (or intends to) undertake a manoeuvre. Typically, the slower the speed, the tighter the manoeuvre a bus can undertake, albeit with consequential impacts on front and rear swing.
The following are typical bus operating speeds used to assess the impact of how the vehicle tracks:
Once the speed and vehicle dimensions have been identified, tracking can be undertaken using specialist design software. For simple and regularly used movements, a template can be developed and applied to the design like that shown in the image below.
Note: The template should clearly identify the key design vehicle assumptions and the speed at which the turning movement is representative of. If any of these assumptions are not applicable to a situation then a different template should be developed, or new vehicle tracking undertaken using specialist design software.
When interpreting and applying the results of bus vehicle tracking the following should be considered:
Should there be any residual ambiguity or concerns about the safety and efficiency of a proposed manoeuvre then it is recommended that tracking is undertaken via a real ‘bus test’ on the ground.
These vehicle tracking templates are for trucks and coach buses but not urban buses. Auckland Transport uses 12.6m bus and a 13.5m rear-steer buses as the design vehicles for urban bus routes.
Urban and rural roadway design(external link) (see page 10)