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Next Stop? Crowdsourced Bus Shelters
This year's winning design. Image by Aaron Basil Nelson.

This year's winning design, "Sugarloaf Lounge." Image by Aaron Basil Nelson.

We’ve written about crowdsourcing contests to build a better suburb, choose better bikesharing locations, and design a better car. Now, Next Stop Design, a collaborative project based in Utah, is soliciting ideas and designs from the public to build a better bus stop, as a way to encourage ridership on public transportation. This past spring, people submitted their ideas to improve a busy transportation hub in the “Sugarhouse” district of Salt Lake City, Utah. The winning design, called “Sugarhouse Lounge,” pays homage to the neighborhood’s history of selling furniture.

In the designer’s own words:

The Sugarhouse Lounge bus stop is a concept that plays off the neighborhood’s early 20th century heritage as a retail furniture destination – an area was once known as “furniture row.” This bus stop incorporates sturdy and iconic outdoor furniture pieces that refer to this heritage and the general residential character of the Sugarhouse neighborhood. Cast-in-concrete “sofa” seats, a concrete table, motion sensitive outdoor lamp, steel coat rack, and a bus info screen are combined to give users a sense a comfort and leisure as they wait for the bus.

Image of the intersection in Salt Lake City via google maps.

Image of the bus stop intersection in Salt Lake City via Google Maps.

The website is part of a research project called “Crowdsourcing Public Participation in Transit Planning” in an effort to seek public input online. The hope is that Next Stop Design will shed light on the ways people participate in government decision making and urban design. The Federal Transit Administration, Utah Transit Authority, and The University of Utah Department of City and Metropolitan Planning partnered to solicit designs for the stop, located at the busy intersection of 900 East and 2100 South, with four stops in the immediate area served by Utah Transit Authority buses.

The first iteration of the 2009 contest — designing a bus stop for the University of Utah campus’ business loop — received 260 submissions and more than 11,000 votes. You can view all the designs from the first contest here.

Next Stop Design provides guidance on how to design road intersections with pedestrians in mind, with an emphasis on walkability and public transportation. The site also offers images of bus shelters from around the world as “inspiration” for would-be designers.

Would you wait for the bus in one of these chairs? Here are a few highlights from last year’s designs:

A modular design. Photo by dharma.

A modular design. Photo by dharma.

A design that sources local materials in dialog with the surrounding landscape. Rendering by jruple1.

A design that sources local materials from the surrounding landscape. Rendering by jruple1.

A glass and stell design that employs transparency, visibility, lighting, constructability, and sustainability. Rainwater filters into the garden below. Rendering by ajfett.

A glass and steel design that employs transparency, visibility, lighting, constructability and sustainability. Rainwater filters into the garden below. Rendering by ajfett.

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