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BC Transit Central Administration Facility: A Model of Inclusive Design and Employee Wellbeing

[BACKGROUND] BC Transit is the primary public transportation provider for British Columbia, providing service to more than 57 million riders each year across small towns and large urban centres. Servicing BC Transit, is the newly renovated Central Administration Facility. The most striking component of the project was upgrading the space to become almost universally accessible. Other goals of the renovation including improved workspaces, greater technological reliability, and safety/wellness were also successfully achieved through the addition of a physio room, an elevator to connect the two floors, and improved acoustical separation in offices and meeting rooms.

BC Transit Administration Building Lobby

Consulting with Adam Bishop, a BC Transit employee who uses a wheelchair, our design process involved an open dialogue with Adam as we worked to improve accessibility within the space. Adam provided feedback from an accessibility perspective where, through thoughtful questions, we were able to take Adam’s feedback as a firsthand user to take the accessibility design for BC Transit to an elevated level. We also worked with accessibility experts to incorporate additional design features to implement a variety of barrier-free design elements.

One of the most notable accessibility updates was improving the washrooms to become universal and completely inclusive. Prior to the renovation, the only accessible washroom for employees was outside of the main office space in the public area. The updated washrooms provide a space that anybody can access, regardless of gender identity or presentation. Features such as accessible showers, swipe access doors, level grading, and ADA-compliant heights for countertops and toilets make facilitate movement for anybody, regardless of barrier or mobility challenge. Moreover, the building's bright new wayfinding system incorporates braille, catering to visually impaired individuals, while the inclusion of multi-level seating and counter heights addresses the needs of those facing physical limitations.

“The new office space is freeing and empowering, as it allows me to be spontaneous and meet colleagues where they are. It also allows me to move through doors hands free, allowing me to do my job effectively and level the playing field for those who face mobility barriers.” Adam Bishop, Senior Talent Attraction Specialist

The renovation project aimed to create collaborative spaces that cater to the complex and multi-faceted work of BC Transit employees. To prioritize staff safety, the design implemented six-foot workstations with removable plexiglass dividers that can be taken down to encourage collaboration. Additionally, soundproof meeting rooms equipped with advanced technology are available for virtual collaboration or private meetings. The new office layout recognizes that better solutions are achieved when more people with diverse perspectives are involved in problem-solving. The intentional design fosters collaboration, brainstorming, and problem-solving without being constrained by physical infrastructure.

The space also can expand and contract to respond to the future operation requirements at BC Transit. The team was very intentional in the way the different spaces were configured, the furniture that was used and the assets that were put in place. There is an opportunity to constantly reimagine what the office looks like and how it functions.

BC Transit Administration Building Interior Images

Overall, the BC Transit Central Administration Facility renovation project is a prime example of how thoughtful design can enhance the workplace experience for both employees. By prioritizing accessibility, safety, wellness, and collaboration, the new space reflects BC Transit's commitment to creating an inclusive and modern workspace that aligns with the needs of its employees and serves the community it operates in. This renovation project is a source of pride for BC Transit, and it sets an example for other organizations looking to elevate their workplace experience to the next level.

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