Public Transportation Turns to Innovative Student Design

August 15th, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Ribbon cutting, Photo courtesy of the Central Ohio Transit Authority.

Left to right: Curtis Stitt, COTA President/CEO, Jennifer Brunner, COTA Board of Trustees member, Tom White, CCAD President, Michael Young (CCAD 2012), Cleve Ricksecker, COTA Board of Trustees member, Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Commissioner, and Dan Padilla, Brasco International, Inc. President. Photo credit: Rashunda Holloway.

When the hub of public transportation in the country’s 15th largest city wanted to improve its services, it looked to design students to get the job done.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) forged a relationship with Columbus College of Art & Design, challenging Industrial Design students to design new and improved bus shelters and offering hands-on experience with a real-world client.

The result is 13 new, innovative, and sustainable shelters that demonstrate COTA’s investment in the revitalization of downtown.

“We’ve made a substantial investment in the aesthetic of downtown with these new shelters,” said Curtis Stitt, COTA president and CEO, at a celebration for the new shelters Aug. 13. “COTA does great work, but we do better work when we partner with our community.”

Alumnus Michael Young’s winning design—a sleek, contemporary structure with designated areas for sitting and standing and features that makes it ADA-compliant—was chosen from twelve finalists.

Michigan-based manufacturing company Brasco International worked with COTA and Young to polish the design and manufacture the shelters, which Young said are just as he envisioned them.

Initial design

Michael Young’s initial design.

“It’s been really cool to see people interacting with my design,” said Young, who now works as a junior designer at local product design studio Zukun Plan. “This has been an incredible learning opportunity for me as a student and as a professional.”

Installation of the new shelters began in March 2014 and will continue throughout the year.

CCAD’s partnership with COTA is one of several that has provided students with real-world experiences in and out of the classroom. Past partnerships have included Airstream, A.D. Farrow Co Harley Davidson, Easton Town Center, and Huntington Bank.

View a news clip about the event from WSYX ABC 6 here.

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