A lot of people are gazing at Jurong East’s smart bus stop in awe and we know exactly why. The bus stop at Jurong Gateway Road, installed last summer, offers waiting commuters free WiFi to download e-books from the national library, as well as actual books from a built-in book stand.

bus stop

Ministry of National Development.

But that is not all the bus stop offers; there are also charging points, a bike park and swings. Fulfilling all the requirements of a green facility, the architects even installed solar panels and are growing plants on the bus stop’s roof.

Jurong East has a population of almost 85,000 spread over 17.83 square kilometers (11 miles). Commuters have been complaining about the usual delay of public buses and many have turned to using cars instead of public transport, adding to the city’s traffic. The project was launched by DP architects as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to provide commuters with a prototype bus stop designed to “make waiting fun,” encouraging people to opt for public transportation rather than take cabs and cars.

“Hopefully the community will appreciate how bus stops can be an extension of their social environments, as sites of possibilities, fun and enrichment,” says DPA’s Director Mr Seah Chee Huang. “We also hope this project will encourage more fellow professionals to step forward and collaborate actively in the design of our everyday public spaces, as well as inspire the community to take greater ownership in shaping their own environments,” he adds.

Singapore currently has just one smart bus stop which was inaugurated as a pilot in August of last year. The city-state will decide this year whether to expand the concept to other parts of the city and nation-wide.

bus stop

Swing & Be Free. London.

Other cities have used different tools to keep commuters busy or comfortable during their wait. In Paris, MIT Design Lab has designed a 1.8 meter (6 foot) custom LED display that commuters can interact with during their wait. Copenhagen has a bus stop with a skateboard ramp that skateboarders can use while they wait for their ride, while in London, a swing keep commuters entertained, helping them to lose track of time.

bus stop

This skateboard ramp keeps commuters busy while they wait for the bus.