Build your own bus stop with the new LEGO Public Transport Station set! The toymaker released its new set in August, allowing children (and the young-at-heart) to envision cities with high-quality transit, including buses, level-boarding platforms, bike racks at transport hubs, and low-floor trams.
As one commenter wrote on Human Transit, “this set for 6-12 year olds is remarkable for allowing children a more realistic, hands-on opportunity to play with transit vehicles, infrastructure and concepts, reflecting what they see on the streets in real life.”
Introducing the idea of safe, accessible and convenient urban public transportation into childhood play is important, considering that children are often the most vulnerable users of the road. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of fatal injuries for youth aged 10 to 19. Studies have shown that public transit can reduce the risk. For example, children in New York City, who rely much more on public transit, die in traffic crashes at less than one-third the national rate.
It’s no wonder, then, that kid-focused organizations and companies are making mass transit more playful. Similar to LEGO, the “green” toy company PlanToys created a set of transport-themed eco-friendly wooden toys for younger kids to understand (and play with) everything from integrated systems for road and rail to eco car charging stations. Sesame Street, too, is now involved in educating children about road safety through multimedia. And partnerships like the one between FedEx and Safe Kids Worldwide educate youth about pedestrian safety.
LEGO’s latest foray into the urban transport toys reminds us of a similar example from Los Angeles Metro’s public marketing campaign. The transit agency’s distinctive blue and silver “Metro Express” transit bus found its way on Mattel’s Matchbox new 10-vehicle set, bringing the idea of “hot wheels” to a whole new level — and a much younger passenger.