Build a Better Bus Stop

BostonBRT announces a design competition for innovative bus stations in Boston.

What if Boston built bus stations that were enjoyable places to be―full of art, with real-time travel information, and safe from the elements? The daily commute would become less stressful and riders would have more faith in the bus system. Even on stormy days, bus riders would be warm and comfortable while waiting for the bus.

Such bus stations do exist. They are a key part of a high-quality bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

What could BRT stations look and feel like in Boston? Will they reflect Boston’s history and its future? How can design make them beautiful and functional? Our organization, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) is partnering with BostonBRT and the Barr Foundation to host a Station Design Competition. The competition seeks creative visions for what a BRT station could look like in Boston.

Stations are where everything comes together in the BRT system. How easily passengers can navigate the design and the technologies built into the stations is of primary importance to the success of the system. But aside from making functional improvements to stations, like elevated boarding platforms and protection from the elements, cities have turned BRT stations into places people actually enjoy spending time by incorporating art, cafe kiosks, landscaping, green infrastructure, and tech features. Because while these stations are necessary to make the bus system run efficiently, they are ultimately places for people—and they should be designed for people.

Successful entries in the Station Design Competition will include design concepts that:

  • Reflect the character of Greater Boston and its neighborhoods
  • Create a sense of comfort and elegance
  • Meet the requirements of the BRT Standard and maximizes benefits to future BRT riders
  • Allow for integration with other modes including walking and biking
  • Demonstrate an effective and reliable rapid transit system

Entrants are asked to submit concept-level designs for center platform BRT stations (see the images below for some examples). Winners will receive cash prizes ($4,000 for first, $2,000 for second, and $1,000 for third place) and a travel package to ITDP’s international Mobilize Summit in Santiago, Chile, taking place June 28–30, 2017. Interested parties must register by April 5 and submit entries by April 12. The winning design will be announced at an event on May 10.

MIO, Santiago de Cali, Colombia

MOVE BRT, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Rea Vaya, Johannesburg, South Africa

Yichang BRT, Yichang, China

ITDP has been working with the Barr Foundation and the BostonBRT initiative since 2013. Our technical analysis—reported in Better Rapid Transit for Greater Boston—found that BRT would be an excellent means of expanding rapid transit in Greater Boston. And this design competition is one way BostonBRT is engaging communities to explore that potential.

We are so pleased to engage with Boston’s talented design community to think beyond our traditional bus stop to the transit experience we’d like in the near future. Join us in bringing to life exciting new ideas for BRT stations in Boston. Create a design that puts a stop to traditional bus stops and transforms the transit experience in Boston.

Download full details of the Station Design Competition

The deadline for submissions is April 12.

BostonBRT is a research and community engagement initiative spearheaded by the Barr Foundation to explore the potential of Gold Standard BRT to meet Greater Boston’s mobility needs. Following a research phase, BostonBRT released a report in 2015 identifying five corridors where Gold Standard BRT is technically feasible and where there is already sufficient rider demand. It is now coordinating with municipalities, community groups, and neighborhood leaders to educate the public about the benefits and trade-offs of Gold Standard BRT and the opportunities to incorporate Gold Standard BRT in their transportation planning efforts.

Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) is a global nonprofit that helps cities design and implement high-quality transit systems to make communities more livable, competitive, and sustainable. ITDP works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.

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Chris Van Eyken

Guest Author Senior Planner, U.S. Program ITDP

Michael Kodransky

Guest Author Director, Global and U.S. Initiatives ITDP