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Simple, Creative Ideas to Build a Better Bus Stop

Waiting for the bus can be a pain. To make transit more appealing, nothing beats frequent service, but studies have shown that if you're going to wait, small improvements like shelters and information about when the next bus is coming can make the wait feel shorter.

A community group in Denver, Colorado raised money to post walking directions signs advising riders of nearby destinations that are a sort distance by foot. Photo: ioby
WalkDenver raised money to post wayfinding signs pointing the way to destinations within walking distance. Photo: ioby
A community group in Denver, Colorado raised money to post walking directions signs advising riders of nearby destinations that are a sort distance by foot. Photo: ioby

That was a big impetus behind "Trick Out My Trip," an initiative that helped transit riders in cities across America implement creative ideas to make the rider experience better. The project was sponsored by TransitCenter and ioby (in our backyards), a crowdsourcing platform for community improvements.

Ten grassroots teams raised a combined $54,000 for their projects, matched by $26,000 from the sponsoring organizations. Among the ideas that got funding: play equipment at transit stops for waiting children in Denver and bike repair stations at rail stops in Atlanta.

Here are a few cool examples.

Seattle: Free Bus Stop Libraries 

"Soound Reader Free Libraries" will provide Seattle-area transit riders with something to read while they ride. Photo: ioby
"Sound Reader Free Libraries" will provide Seattle-area transit riders with something to read while they ride. Photo: ioby
"Soound Reader Free Libraries" will provide Seattle-area transit riders with something to read while they ride. Photo: ioby

Seattle resident Kristina Krause led a group that raised almost $5,000, not including matching funds, to purchase books for "free libraries" to be housed at transit stations around the city.

In her explanation of the project, she says:

These libraries will be free to all riders, offering books they can take with them on their journey, or read while they are waiting at their stop. The libraries will broaden the horizons of all passengers and entertain the lonely traveler.

Atlanta: "Timely Trip"

Atlanta residents took it upon themselves to see that route information was available at MARTA stops. They called their project TimelyTrip
Atlanta residents took it upon themselves to see that route information was available at MARTA stops. They called their project TimelyTrip. Image: ioby
Atlanta residents took it upon themselves to see that route information was available at MARTA stops. They called their project TimelyTrip

Binh Dam, who moved to Atlanta from Paris, was troubled by the fact that many of the city's bus stops are simply a sign that says MARTA. There's not even information about schedules. So the idea here was simply to provide printed route and schedule information at stops. The group also created an app so riders with smartphones can get the real-time arrival information by scanning a code.

The group raised $534 for the project.

In response, report ioby and Transit Center, "[MARTA's] top leadership decided to invest in replicating the project across the city."

By the end of this year, 15 bus stops around downtown and midtown will display printed information and scan codes.

You can check out all of the winning ideas here.

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