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CCAD Students Redesign Downtown COTA Bus Shelters

Walker Evans Walker Evans CCAD Students Redesign Downtown COTA Bus Shelters
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The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) tapped a group of industrial design students at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) to assist with a redesign project for new bus shelters.

The new shelters are being designed for placement within the Downtown area, and designers were asked to use innovative and sustainable materials to make their projects “green” and create designs that would compliment the urban environment in an attractive way.

“We plan to make a final choice of design by the end of August,” said Beth Berkemer, Public and Media Relations Manager at COTA. “We hope to have these new shelters installed by the end of 2012.”

The designs are currently on display and can be viewed by the public through Friday, Aug. 12, in the Franklin County Courthouse Lobby at 373 S. High Street, the Rhodes State Office Tower Lobby at 30 E. Broad Street and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation William Green Building Lobby at 30 W. Spring Street. You can also provide feedback online at www.cota.com/contact-us.

The three designs are also visible below. Which do you think would look best Downtown?

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  • jpizzow

    Finalist A

  • The Dudely Lama

    Finalist A. It looks as though there is a covered area to the right that is not enclosed. I’ve noticed a lot of people smoke inside the current shelters eventhough it is not permitted. This new shelter design would allow them to be shielded from rain or snow while not bothering others with their smoking.

  • Stephen43215

    Finalist A.

  • stephentszuter

    I like the raise seating in finalist A, but I’m not a fan of the roof. Maybe the roof of Finalist C, but the benches of Finalist A.
    Plus, Finalist A is at the Commons. ;]

  • A. looks like the best and i also like the covered area for people to stand

  • I like A because it seems to have some kind of lean bar in addition to the seating.  It’s not easy to tell how the drainage coming from the roof would work, but I assume that can be worked out.  As for the smoking, I don’t think separating people by a glass wall will help if they’re still within 10 feet of each other.

  • JRemy

    I am not a fan of Finalist A’s curving roof structure for the sake of drainage.  It also feels just a little too ‘heavy’ to me.  Finalist B is too typical.  I like the lightness conveyed by Finalist C.

  • Yeah, Finalist A is my fav as well.

  • cc

    Like “A” as long as the long bench is broken up a bit (armrests or something) to prevent sleeping.

  • Dudely Llama – I doubt having an outside area will help move the inconsiderate smokers out of the bus shelters, which is unfortunate.

    cc – I think the current benches are long and flat, and I’ve rarely seen people sleeping on them. Perhaps it happens more at night, but I’ve not seen much of it during the day (where I commonly travel by bus anyway).

    From a visual design perspective, I think I like A the most, but I’d like to know more about the materials being used, costs, etc. The one thing I’d really love to see implemented at new Downtown bus shelters is some LED signage that displays real time bus info. “Next #2 Arriving in 3 minutes. Next #8 Arriving in 10 minutes. Etc…”

    If we’re going to upgrade the design, we should also upgrade the functionality. ;)

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    I think it would be absolutly perfect if it was design A with LED signs with real time bus info.

  • cc

    +2 on real time led bus info (if not too expensive).

  • Parker

    Finalist B for it’s simplicity of design; it’s likely to be the least expensive to produce (and thus justify) and require the least amount of maintenance. Finalist A’s design is nice but seems to require some sort of expansive modification to control drainage waterfalls on passengers who are ironically trying to stay dry, the same for C, which also appears to be a cost-overrun nightmare. As others suggest, the LED display would be nice for any of them. B also matches the new COTA color scheme.

  • A, I suppose. B is so boring (and actually offensively ugly) it is disappointing it is even a finalist, C looks nice enough but I wouldn’t want to use it in the winter time.
    Not a very innovative bunch. I mean, I know, people aren’t used to being original with bus shelters, but I’d like to see them try to make the experience better, instead of basically just drawing a picture of a standard bus shelter. A at least does it a little bit with the little enclosed section. The open part is so big it still will be very drafty, though.

  • brickhouse

    I’m with Ameya on this – kinda of a disappointing trio. Glass/Plexiglass, looks terrible over time and being clear you will see bird poop. I like the idea of LED information screen – perhaps in the areas with more sun access they could be solar powered? I thought it would be interesting to see some renewable resources as part of/incorporated the design.

    Some interesting ideas:


    and here:


  • cc

    It would be awesome to have something more signature like the Paris Metro did with Art Noveau in the 1900’s…

    but that is asking a lot.

  • selshoff

    Definitely finalist A, looks modern and a touch edgy without going overboard. B is a bit generic, and C looks like what Ikea would build if they got into the functional urban structure business.

  • ehill27

    IMO, Finalist A is the most visually appealing.  However, folks have made good points about drainage and cost being important factors.

  • As inspiration to the finalists take a look at Portland’s new downtown MAX shelters, that illuminate at night:

    Image doesn’t quite do it justice but a really interesting aluminum mesh wrapped column cantilevers the entire glass roof structure and doubles as lighting.  I think the idea of a competition was a good one, but all will need quite a bit of development.  A’s saddle roof could be pretty interesting.

  • CalebR

    Finalist A. Its appealing to the eye. And I agree with the up-to-date bus information.

  • heresthecasey

    I like B if it I had to choose, but all these are kind of boring. I can’t believe that C is a finalist either. I would really like to see COTA think a little more outside the box. It’s good to involve CCAD, but I feel like the student’s creativity may have been stifled in some way, (Or the most boring were chosen for cost issues?). Either way, it’s a big ‘ol meh. The ones they had up until a bit ago from the 80s were more exciting.
    PS, it’d be nice to get some shelters on other streets (aka Broad, main, neil, long, etc, etc, etc) besides redoing the High Street bus shelters with bland, uninspired designs every other year…

  • I think LED signs with real-time info are a good idea at busy stops, but I wouldn’t spend the money everywhere.  Between smart phones and text updates, that work well enough for most people.

  • Yeah, the suggestion for LED signage wasn’t a suggestion for system-wide rollout. ;) Would be something just for the busiest stops and transfer locations Downtown.

  • sevell

    Gotta go with A as well (though B is a close 2nd). Like the contemporary lines. And Walker, your comment about LED signage that displays real time bus info is a fabulous idea. I’m afraid though that COTA’s gonna clutter up the nice design with crappy display ads.

  • YoderMan

    A looks interesting although the map area needs to be transparent as well

  • ohiogirlie74

    Love the idea about bus schedule updates in real-time! Also, would be nice to have a “yes I’m here and waiting for a bus” indicator light thing so that in lower visibility you don’t worry that the drivers will just zoom past you. (Especially for those of us who wear a lot of dark clothing in winter).
    Of the 3 above designs, which are not striking me as wildly innovative — C seems a nightmare for drainage and discomfort (pointy!), and A seems the prettiest, (and maybe even those thicker tubes represent a gutter system to guide the waterfalls from the roof to the ground gently?) I’m curious as to why B made the finals, as it seems almost exactly like the current state.
    The keys to success will be good visibility so that (a) passengers can find where to stand for the bus and (b) bus drivers know there are people who need a ride; protection from the elements; and most importantly – safety. I’m not standing at a bus stop that looks like it’s going to help get me mugged. Oh, and durability…. for the riff-raff that want to bust things up when they’re bored.

  • ehill27

    I suspect that many COTA riders don’t have text or data plans.  I wonder if anyone has any stats on that?
    The text service would also be much more useful if it was actual real-time data, rather than scheduled data.  Anyone know if/when this is coming and when they will be expanding the text service system-wide?

  • MichaelYoung

    Hey all, thanks for the vote on finalist A!

    Some additional information for those of you with questions, rain runoff and LED display should be explained here:


  • erikturocy

    Finalist A.  Good clean design, the roof creates a bit of visual fun/interest without being overdone.

  • JY

    If finalist “A” DOESN’T win I will be disappointed! I would take the bus more often if “A” was built around the city – it’s smart, classy, and makes taking the bus cool finally! The materials are green, real time LED display, and the open standing space is optional. I’m very impressed.

  • designerS

    I believe C is the best option out of the of the 3. Bus stops are often just an additional eye soar in a majority of city environments and C looks to be the least invasive to its surroundings. In addition C looks to be the most efficient bus shelter to manufacture.

  • buckeye12

    Finalist C!

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