This project has been archived. To make it an active project, contact your teacher or the site administrator.

This CAF Newhouse 2011 project (#426) has been awarded Second Grand Prize

Wondering about this bus shelter design problem? >>

Show Hide

Due to rapid increase in population and shift towards urban migration, a rising trend across the world for mass transit. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a cost-effective and efficient way to move people through their cities. BRT is less permanent and less expensive that rail systems (like the EL), and can move people just as effectively in many cities. Chicago has already brought one route of BRT (the Jeffrey Jump) to the city as an experiment, and is planning two additional routes along the Western and Ashland corridors.

Unlike typical bus stops, BRT stops are meant to be less frequent along routes, making the commute faster and accommodate more people. It is up to you to design how this new type of transit shelter will function and protect passengers from the weather and provide information and other amenities while they are waiting. Other amenities may important to include with the shelter can be a secure bike storage or a ‘Share-a-Bike’ station such as “the Divvy” in Chicago, a place or screen that provides relevant information. A shelter is a structure that we may take for granted, but BRT shelters also have the potential to make our daily lives easier while also significantly impacting the way our streets look.

Define problem

  • Design a BRT intersection (in group): Configure BRT and other vehicular and non-vehicular lanes and sidewalks. Design the intersection to move pedestrians and bikes to the BRT shelter.
  • Design a BRT shelter (individually) to accommodate minimum of 25 people

Take into consideration

For the Intersection:

  • Amount of vehicular traffic,
  • Amount of pedestrian and other non-vehicular traffic
  • Estimated frequency for the BRT
  • Estimated riders at the location
  • Adjacent uses

For the BRT shelter:

  • Ticket or Point of Pay location
  • Ease of loading and unloading
  • Weather protection
  • Safety
  • Place or method for providing information
  • Connectivity to other mode of transport such as bikes, walking etc
  • Energy and roof drainage
  • Other amenities

Provide information about the intersection/stop selected; 63rd and Jeffrey, 35th and Ashland, including drawings..

Supplemental documents can be found here.

i need to come up with a bus stop that accommodates the needs of people. i am leaning towards a bus shelter that provides the main needs of what the majority of people ask for and also incorporate a visual friendly design that is viewed as something that goes along with the site that the bus shelter will be placed on.

i decided to pick the location for the bus shelter to be the one on Addison and Western.
this particular bus shelter is like many in Chicago which can accommodate 6 to 8 people at most. 100 students access this bus stop at a time in some cases. this causes a lot of uneasy feelings when it rains or snows as everybody wishes to have shelter from mother nature. Two different buses pass during through this shelter, the western express and western bus.


You have a very good concept so far! I think it was a good idea to interview people and see what they would like for their bus shelter.

Besides that 1st sketch everything else needs work Edwin.

Edwin you are lagging behind.

How about adding some people for proportion? How about a "bus scene"? Midnight 5-18-11.

Thanks for entering the 2011 CAF Newhouse Architecture Competition! Until the judges have completed evaluating all student projects, you are temporarily blocked from accessing your account or working on this project. Please check back sometime after May 26 for the competition results. Good luck!

You've got a lot of really good concepts here, and it's clear that you thought each of them through several times. I really like the idea of having a light-up strip that indicates when there are riders waiting, as well as the idea of having cross-breeze ventilation. A couple small points:
-You speak of using translucent glass. Won't that make it difficult for the waiting people to see when a bus is coming? Why not use transparent glass instead?
-The idea of putting the solar panels on the ground is an innovative solution, but it comes with its own problems. I think it'll just be too tempting for people to damage them.
-This is a small thing, since your roof will be heated, but a slightly sloped roof (anything less than about 30 degrees) won't keep snow off on its own.
Overall, you've done a great job, and your final sketches/models look great. Well done.

Great work - really enjoyed the sketchup diagrams, and think you have a lot of terrific ideas. Well done.

What a thoughtful design! I really enjoyed reading about your process and the critical analysis you went through to reach your final design. Beautiful renderings. The idea of introducing a red or green strip light to indicate if someone is in the shelter is very innovative, but I would also consider using transparent glass as well. Good work!

Great research and communication about your project! You have shown a nice development from initial ideas through the final design. Good work!

Congratulations!  Your project has been awarded a Second Grand Prize by the 2011 Newhouse Architecture Competition jury yesterday.  To celebrate your awesome work, we’re including this project as a ‘Featured Student Project’ on the website.  It will now appear in the sidebar of the Student Gallery and on the homepage in the rotating queue. 
Share this link to your project with your friends on your Facebook page! 
Don’t forget to bring your family with you to the awards ceremony and exhibition opening on the evening of Thursday, June 2. (Details will follow in an email.)  You can also visit the Robert Morris University Gallery between now and June 11 to see your project on display along with all the student projects.  Congrats again!

Curious about the Collect Info step of this bus shelter design problem? >>

Show Hide

The re-branded CTA BRT route, the Jeffery Jump

In this step of the design process, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible about different types of shelters, from regular bus shelters to train shelters. How are they different? How do people use them? Since BRT is new to Chicago, you’ll also want to look at BRT stations that have been designed in other countries. Interview bus riders about how they use the current type of bus shelter and what is missing in their design.

Think About

  • Start off the project by analyzing what you already know about container architecture and container housing with a quick pre-test.
  • What are the basic functions and design elements of any bus shelter?
  • What materials are these shelters made from?
  • How could current bus shelters be scaled up to accommodate more people and longer wait times?
  • What are some things that you really like or hate about Chicago’s current bus shelters?

 Try This

  • Make a list of all the different features on an existing Chicago bus shelter.  Explain what you’ve learned and post information the information in this step.
  • Learn about the BRT system. How does it work? How are the station locations determined? What makes a BRT system different than a regular bus route?
  • Use Flickr and Google Images to search "BRT shelter." Research different types of bus stops and shelters in different cities around the world. How are these different than regular bus shelters?
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photograph of your intersection. How far away is the stop from the street corner? How far away should it be?
  • Interview several of your friends and classmates about what they like or hate about the bus shelters you typically use. 
  • Check out this Chicago Tribune article from architecture critic Blair Kamin about the 2003 design of Chicago's bus shelters by a French company.
  • This blog about bus shelter designs have some very interesting ideas from all over the world.

elira1's work for the Collect Information step:

i have gone around different neighborhoods in the city asking people what they believe is important to have in a bus stop and also what they would like it to have.

i started to just concentrate on asking students of Lane Tech since i am creating the design for a bus stop that will be used by these students the most.

"entertaining and informative"
"it should have a heater like the train stations have"
"it would be cool and useful if you have a bus tracker"
"it should be bigger with more seats"

These are very common views shared by students whom feel strongly towards the Western/Addison bus stop. being a frequent user of public transportation i can relate to the feelings of frustration with the many bus stops.

many of the bus stops are displayed as only a pole with a sign. this can be very troubling when it is winter and one has to wait on average of 15 minutes. then there is another type of bus stop available which has a bench along with the pole. this bus stop is better than the first bus stop because it seats people. the best of the of the bus stops is the shelter which provides some shelter and seating. even though it is the best available bus stop it still has some significant problems.

Main problems with Bus Shelter
1. it is to small
2. it does not have enough seating for students
3. does not protect against weather
4. lacks information
5. its not green-friendly

Curious about the Brainstorm Ideas step of this bus shelter design project? >>

Show Hide

A TransMilenio Station in Bogotá, Colombia

In the this step of the design process, you’ll want put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step.  You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

Make some early decisions about the location, size, features, and materials for your BRT shelter. Draw a hand sketch to help you puzzle through new ideas.

Try This

  • Identify a location for your BRT shelter on your site near your intersection. Mark this location on a map and think about its proximity to other bus stops, rail stations, or other points of interest near this intersection.
  • Based on what you learned in the Collect Information, make a list of all the features you'd like to have in your design. Edit this list into ‘necessities’ and ‘nice to have’ categories.
  • Using a tape measure and some masking tape, mark out some different footprint options for the shelter. How many people do you need to accommodate? How much space should each person get? How does this compare with the size of a regular bus shelter?  Explain your thinking in the description of your project.
  • Draw several quick sketches to get your early ideas down on paper.  Either take a photo or scan and then upload your sketches to your project account.  These don’t need to be your final ideas. 
  • Consider what materials the shelter will be made from: what materials will be durable against the weather and the riders who wait there?

elira1's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

1st Bus Stop Idea- smooth edged

1st sketch up model-front- longer shelter

1st- side- wider shelter

2nd- added glass in front and less in the back

LED lights allow for more colors

Rainwater collection- concept i want to incorporate into shelter

Bus tracker- another incorporated concept

Glass that does not get recycled- material i want to use

there were many flaws to the current bus shelter and a few ideas that still pertain important

i liked the roof of the bus shelter because it made sure that in the winter snow could not pile up making sure the shelter would not collapse. the only problem i saw with it was that it used up unnecessary material.

the bus shelter also has voids which allow for wind to channel through to make a breeze. its all good during the summer when one wants a breeze but during the winter months its not to smart.

the bus shelter provides a map of Chicago and even has the ideo locator, but it is to small. with current technology i think we can make it better than just having a map
the shelter although its relatively big it is still not quite big enough for the always growing city of Chicago. the shelter does not have much room to accommodate more than one handicapped person at a time.

i liked how the current bus shelters have a glass window facing towards the direction of where the bus is coming from and on the other side it is covered by an ad. i am going to leave that alone because i think they did a good job with it.

i thought of making the bus stop into something that people do not usually associate as a bus stop, such as having unnecessary objects that will please the majority of people. as i thought of many different ways to make the bus stop elegant and comfortable, i took a giant step back and asked myself is it really needed. the matter of fact is that the current bus stops have been here for a long time and for good reason. they are interchangeable and can accommodate many locations. the majority of people do not spend more then about 15 minutes at a bus stop. so it is not essential to make a bus stop as comfortable and entertaining as possible because it can cause many to get distracted from what their task was. what we need to do and what i am aiming to achieve is make them environmentally friendly. also making the shelter sustain itself using the natural elements and if possible help out its surroundings. that is the main focus i have when it comes to creating a new bus shelter. making them more comfortable and visual friendly is something i hope to be able to execute while not losing focus.

some rough solutions
1. make the bus shelter bigger
2. more seating
3. tinted glass to protect from sun
4. digital display system, with
a) time
b) bus tracker
c) temperature
d) map
5. automated heater
6. tank to gather rain water
a) it will keep the shelter cool during summer
b) help water the campus
7. automated LED lights
8. use recycled glass

Curious about the Develop Solutions step of this bus shelter design project? >>

Show Hide

Now's the time to take what you've learned from the steps above to develop your solution for a BRT shelter.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.

Try to include

  • One site plan
  • One floor plan
  • At least two elevation or perspective views

Try This

You may use any method you'd like to show your design (pencil, colored pencil, collage, physical models, or digital rendering software).  Here are a few suggestions for drawings and models of your BRT shelter:

  • Use cardboard or cardstock to build a rough physical study model or prototype of your shelter. You can't really understand the shape of the shelter until you make a quick study model. Don't worry about making a fancy finished model at this time. Instead, use cardstock, scissors, and tape to quickly create the large 3D form. See how it looks. Break off different sections, add new pieces, and try new ideas. Take photos of your model and upload them to this step.
  • Sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to get the ideas out of your head to share with others.

elira1's work for the Develop Solutions step:

aluminum is the antenna for bus stop- both front and back view are shown

Water Tank underground-

rain water-->sloped roof-->tubes-->tank-->distributed to plants

dimensions front view- sorry about the small text but whenever i tried making it bigger it didn't all come out

dimensions side view

i decided to make the bus shelter 10 feet longer in order to accommodate more people. i thought of making it longer than that but then ran into the problem of the shelter not being able to protect all the passengers from the weather. as well as making it longer i made it wider for the reason of sheltering more people.

the shelter being longer provided for more space for seating and as well as space for handicapped passengers thanks to the extra space that will be provided by the width expansion

the bus shelter will be recessed three and a half feet from the street in order to allow a passage for people to walk through.

i liked the idea of the tinted windows but thought of a problem that can occur due to them. the bus driver might skip a bus stop because of the assumption that no one is there because of the dark colored glass, especially in the night.

the display system will be like the very popular touch screen technology that everyone seems to be so obsessed with. the touch screen will be for the map that will be displayed which will allow passengers to search and find the most accurate directions to their destination. it will work very much like google maps. the temperature and weather will be provided by WGN which is located closely to Lane Tech. the display system will also be synced with CTA website in order to get the bus tracker application to work efficiently.

for all this to work i made part of the exoskeleton into an antenna in order for the display system to get all the information via wi-fi.i thought of making the display system more sophisticated and complex but thought of all the recent problems with the current technology which make people unaware of their surroundings which may cause problems and for that reason i decided to keep the display system rather simple. another reason why i wanted to keep it simple is due to the increased demand of smart phones. every day more and more people get smart phones making it irrelevant as to having a touchscreen that does to much.

along with that many people are plugged in to their ipods or mp3 players and do not pay much attention to anything other than that. they would cost more to upkeep such luxuries than the actual benefits from them. for these reasons i have decided to not add anything else such as televisions or a touchscreen music player. as for they may also cause more trouble from arguments of what to have displaying on such systems.

there will also be heaters available during the months of october to march since those are the colder months of the year. the heaters working months could change if deemed necessary. all the heaters will be turned on based on sensors and not all of them will turn on only those closest to the person.

the top of the shelter will have a material which will allow for water to seep through but keep leaves and other objects from falling through. once the water passes through the first material it will go on to another that will be at a slope and move it to tubes which will lead the water to an underground tank.the tank will be at least 2 feet below the freezing line of chicago in order to make sure the water in the tank does not freeze. the tank will store the rainwater for further use which the school will be able to use, to water the large vegetation across its campus. i wanted to come up with a way to have the water moving within the the shelter to keep the shelter cool during the summer but could not come up with a way without using more energy than the benefits of the circulating water, so i ended the idea.

i also wanted LED lights to light up the shelter. one can make a lot more colors with LED's and that is one reason why i wanted to have them.the LED's will also allow for a more festive look when necessary such as christmas time, new years and more holidays. also the lights will turn on automatically as a person enters the shelter, a lot like the heaters.

Curious about the Final step of this bus shelter design problem? >>

Show Hide

A unique station on the world's first BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil.

The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your site or even your city.

Continue to collect feedback from your peers, teachers and the online community to help you improve on your final design. Be sure to review and add constructive comments on the work of your classmates and other students who are solving the same design problem. If your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account.

You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.

  • Review your design and test it against your original sucess statement that you wrote for the Overview. Does it meet this criteria?
  • Make a list of your ideas, sketches, and study models. For your final design you will want to write and post a short but effective paragraph of your process and the unique solutions you found developed. Tell us about your ideas.
  • Your teacher and architectural mentors will be looking for these things:
    1. originality in your design
    2. your ability to creatively solve the design challenge
    3. the quality of images, sketches, drawings, and models you have uploaded in each of the five design process steps (Overview, Collect Info, Brainstorm Ideas, Develop Solutions, and Final Design).
    4. As your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account. Go back to the virtual drawing board and revise your project based on the feedback of others.
    5. how well you have written about and explained your thinking in each of the design process steps

elira1's work for the Final Design step:


heater formation-bigger span of heat emission due to it


lighting formation & type of encasement of light- in order to light the inside as well as using the light to highlight the front


Display System- temperature, time, bus tracker, and 'google map"


Seating for passengers- made from recycled aluminum cans and glass


lights on side of bus stop-green means no people--> turns red when there is a person waiting


solar panels under a glass layer next to the bus stop to power components inside


bus stop


emergency station- in case of need to contact police


proportional view of bus stop

Features that the bus shelter will have...
i tried to make the bus shelter modern but at the same time keep it simple like the current bus shelter. instead of the rough edges and sharp turns i tried to make the model as smooth as possible as well as having the sharp turns turn into gradual ones.

Both length and width were made longer to accommodate more people as well as making it handicapped friendly.

i decided to bring back the tinted windows idea. i did this because after contemplating whether to do it or not, i had a realization when i saw my friend in his glasses and then it hit me that i can make the glass photo-chromatic, glass that changes shade depending on the amount of UV light that hits it.

as for the problem of the bus driver skipping a stop, i fixed that problem by placing a relatively thin and long light which will work like a traffic light. it will glow green until the same sensors that activate the lights and heaters are activated by a person entering the shelter, then it will turn red letting the bus driver know he needs to stop at that location.

i kept the display system, antenna, heaters and LED lights the exact same way as i stated in the "developed solutions" portion

the heaters are in the alternating formation in order to cover a larger area of the shelter using the minimal amount of energy

i made the top portion of the front view a translucent material as an extra precaution to make sure the bus driver doesn't pass a waiting passenger. the automated LED lights will brighten up the side front side of the shelter letting the bus driver know there is a passenger.

the top of the bus stop will be slightly sloped to ensure that snow does not accumulate and as an extra precaution will be slightly heated in the winter months which will allow for it to be stored in the water tank.

the bus stop will not have voids like the current bus shelters. there will only be the front entrance and back entrance. the back entrance is there for both as an entrance and to act as a cross breeze during the summer. it has the two glass protectors on the front, one being longer than the other for more protection during the winter while allowing a cross breeze during the summer.

i added an emergency station in which all you have to do is press the red button and the blue siren will go off along with immediate two way audio connection to the police station and in which they will be informed with your location upon pressing the button.

i knew that i would need electricity in order to power many of the components for the bus stop and the first thing that came to mind where solar panels of course. the problem i ran into was where would i put them without harming the visual affect of the bus stop. the top of the bus stop came to mind again, but i was already using the top to gather water, one feature that i did not want to go without. so i thought of throwing away that idea and that is exactly what i did. i could not figure out how to do it until i was almost done with the project that i realized why not put them underground. weird idea but if one was to place below the bus shelter and to the side and put on top of it a thin but strong glass it would keep them from getting damaged from the public. it will still be able to gather solar energy along with not harming the visual of the bus stop, but instead adding a different look to it never before seen. i also decided to place the solar panels on the north and west side of the bus stop due to the sun's path. i did not put it on the west side due to the sidewalk and street.

Green Materials used for the bus stop...
the glass will be made from recycled glass and will then be dipped in a chemical in order to make it photo-chromatic.

the antenna exoskeleton will be made from recycled metal and aluminum

recycled metal will be used as much as possible to make the infrastructure of the bus shelter

the seats will also be made from recycled metals and glass.

Personal Notes...
i enjoyed doing this project because in the past few weeks i have learned a great deal of the design process and the benefits of it. i learned a lot from my peers through the constructive criticism. this project really made me think about what is beneficiary to all and not just my own personal goals. it also put into perspective a lot of things that people take for granted now a days and made me appreciate them all. i look forward to reading every comment anyone may have. i would like to be able to continue learning as much as possible from both positive and negative feedback alike.