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Station of Being

Station of Being

A radical new proposal for a BRT station: the Station of Being: an innovative flagship for the sustainable smart city of the future, focused on the quality of the travellers' experience and on promoting sustainable transport practices.

Rombout Frieling Lab (NL) and RISE revealing the Bus stop design to Umeå Kommun.

Aim and goal
The aim of the project is to research, design and develop a flagship bus stop for the sustainable smart city of the future. The goal was to produce a functional bus station, which is currently up and running.

As a prototype, it functions as a way to challenge existing ideas of what a Smart bus station in a sustainable city is or could be, and it raises related issues for all partners involved around related areas (e.g. mobility, sustainability, existing policies or needs for new ones, etc.) 

Sustainable and intelligent public transport networks are a key component of all urban development strategies for responsible cities of the future. This makes public transport a highly complex case: issues of technical innovation as well as environmental, economic and social sustainability are all equally important in developing sound proposals that have a direct impact on the city. The particular challenge in this project entailed balancing such issues within a functional prototype, thus making these issues concrete for the individuals during their journey or travel experience.

The deep design-driven research process within this project identified the traveller experience as the core opportunity to explore intelligent public transport networks in urban environments.

The question is how the experience of using the bus stop can become a tangible experience of these complex issues and a felt symbol of the smart city.  To answer this question the bus stop is designed to  elicit responsible and sustainable behaviour by travellers. The design achieves this by taking into account the following ingredients:

  1. make the bus stop a pleasant space to be with minimal use of electricity
  2. encourage people to ‘be in their body’, to move and re-connect with one-self or others
  3. remove the necessity to pay attention to the bus and allow for relaxation, by developing a system that gives people time to actually be
  4. provide an environment that is an excuse for people to  ‘be’ without having to escape online

The station of Being is nowadays in use and experienced daily by travellers in the University Campus. The process of research, design and development has in itself been proven useful, as it has shown to expose a variety of different issues for the partners involved, ranging from public procurement procedures, ticketing systems, and more.

Currently, the Station of Being is being studied from different perspectives, such as gender, safety, usability, but also as far as the effects that it will generate in the urban planning of Swedish Smart Cities are concerned. 

The project has been shown in several national and international arenas, such as the Dutch Design Week 2019 and has been nominated for international prestigious design awards. 

The Station of Being has been nominated for the the Dezeen Design Awards 2020 and it is among the three finalists for the Beazley Design Awards at the London Design Museum. 

The Station of Being has also won the 2021 Smart 50 Award at the Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo.


Project name

Station of Being




Region Västerbotten

RISE role in project

RISE is project responsible and main contractor for the project. Main responsibility for the design research process.

Project start


1.5 years

Total budget

3.800.000 SEK


Rombout Frieling Lab


Umeå Kommun, Europeiska regionala utvecklingsfonden, Green Umeå, Ruggedised


Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

11. Sustainable cities and communities

Contact person

Jeroen Peeters


Read more about Jeroen

Contact Jeroen
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