New ‘green’ Muni bus shelters installed

By Liska Koenig
The Guardsman

DSC_1196 muni shelter-web

San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency, in cooperation with Clear Channel Outdoor, is installing new, solar-powered bus shelters throughout the City.

Clear Channel Outdoor agreed to pay for the fabrication and installation of new Muni shelters. The advertising company will share 55 percent of projected revenue from the collaboration, expected to be around $300 million, according to Bill Hooper, president of Clear Channel Outdoor’s northern California region, as quoted on

After two years of development, the first of the new shelters was unveiled by Mayor Gavin Newsom at Geary and Arguello boulevards on May 28, 2009.

“Transit shelters that use photovoltaics, LEDs and Wi-Fi are going to be standard in the future and I’m proud that San Francisco is once again acting like the pace car for other cities by trying and implementing these technologies,” Newsom said during a press conference at the unveiling of the first shelter.

The most distinctive element of the new transit shelters — the red roof — is  meant to resemble a seismic shock wave, according to an SFMTA press release.

Photovoltaic cells in the red roof provide the power supply for the shelters and re-insert any excess energy back into the city’s power system, according to an article by CNET. The cells use a newly patented technology that implements third generation organic dye-based photovoltaic solar film and contains no heavy metals unlike traditional solar panels, which are silicon based. The solar film is embedded into the red wavy roof material.

The new LED lights use 80 percent less power than the old fluorescents, the structural steel contains 70 percent recycled material and the roof material is 40 percent post-industrial recycled content, states Lundberg Design, whose concept was selected from over 30 competitors, according to its Web site.

All of the new shelters will feature NextMuni displays to inform riders about bus arrivals and will eventually be equipped with a push-to talk system to assist visually impaired riders. Unlike the old shelters, the number for each individual transit stop will be displayed so passengers can enter it when calling 511, the Bay Area-wide traffic and public transportation information line.

After an initial testing phase, Clear Channel Outdoor is planning to install Wi-Fi at the new shelters to accommodate laptop users who want to use the Internet while waiting for their bus to arrive.

The functionality of the new shelters will be reviewed by Muni and Clear Channel Outdoor. If all goes according to plan, at least 1,100 old shelters will be replaced after this summer, according to the SFMTA press release. The transportation agency hopes to have the process completed by 2013.

No representative from Muni or Clear Channel Outdoor was available for comment.

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