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Design competition focuses on Bus Rapid Transit stations

This week the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Chicago Architectural Club announced the 2013 Burhnam Prize Competition: NEXT STOP, a design competition for Bus Rapid Transit stations. NEXT STOP is an international design ideas competition intended to catalyze iconic, sustainable and functional design for representative corridors in Chicago’s planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system./

The competition asks designers to focus on three locations that reflect current BRT projects in Chicago: downtown near State and Madison, Bucktown-Logan Square at Western Avenue Blue Line ‘L’ stop, and Pilsen near 18th and Ashland.

The stations are a critical element of Bus Rapid Transit, so we’re excited that the competition will help bring increased attention to their design. BRT is all about making the bus more like the train – faster, more reliable and more convenient. One of the key elements that distinguishes the train experience from the bus experience is stations, so careful consideration needs to be given to station design in order to make the BRT experience feel more like taking the train for the rider.

We’d also like to see stations that are responsive to what riders are looking for, which is why we conducted a rider survey about transit stations that could help inform the design competition and the city. We collected more than 1,000 responses from riders in Dec. and Jan. and have shared the results with the city and Chicago Architecture Foundation. Rider experience and community feedback have been integrated into the competition evaluation criteria, and a summary of our survey results is included in the appendix of competition materials (PDF). 

Interested in designing a BRT station? Entry information, including a complete set of rules, can be found at www.chicagoarchitecturalclub.org. Entries are due by noon, May 13, 2013.

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