Public transit vehicle design has grown in leaps and bounds; consider the accordion-like articulations and sleek streamline curves of one city’s rapid bus. But what about the millions of kids getting shuttled to and from school in this country every day? Their lumbering yellow school bus hasn’t been given a once-over since someone thought to add seatbelts back in the 1980s. Not surprisingly, it took a school to rethink the school bus: Pasadena-based Art Center College of Design tapped students from its Mobility Class, a course in the school’s famous transportation design department, to present 11 fresh concepts for a multi-function bus ride that’s safer, more educational, and even more fun.
Brian Dai plays upon a classic kid-approved toy in his design for the Coach LEGO. The use of giant LEGOs inside and out allows the bus to transform thematically; to the delight of the kids being picked up, it can transform from a pirate one day to an astronaut the next. Parked, the vehicle becomes an educational playhouse for children and even includes a rear slide!
Erwin Pizarro’s GMC Bison even looks a bit like the animal, with a hump running down the length of the bus that is used for storage. The multiple entry points allow for extra loading and cargo space, so it can haul computers and other high tech equipment out to children in rural areas, or serve as a crisis response vehicle, transporting water or other supplies during emergencies.
The Nike TranSPORT by Josh Ceniceros is made to transport athletic teams to away games in a mobile locker room that might also be used as rehearsal space for, say, a performing group or band. Ceniceros also envisions a highly visible campaign to get kids out to athletic camps during the summer.
This Subaru Street concept by Andrew Kang converts into a mobile skateboard park, with ramps folding down from the front and rear. The interior becomes an art studio, where Shepard Faireys-in-training would be allowed to paint and wheatpaste up the interior, which can be easily removed and replaced. As a skateboard park/art studio, the bus would create a safe place for kids to hang out after school before they head home.
This yellow school bus is green because Jang Seo wanted to focus on safety, so it borrows from the yellow-green signage that now appears on many “Children Crossing” signs. The Mercedes Benz vehicle has more comfortable seats and monitors to provide an educational experience for children while in transit.