U students compete to design stations for new bus system

Teams of U architecture seniors and a U faculty member spent last semester creating three new designs for potential Utah Transit Authority Bus Rapid Transit stations.

The stations are part of UTA’s BRT project, which, pending approval, will provide a faster alternative to buses without the infrastructure costs of expanding the light rail system. The BRT stations will display a key phrase, such as “better bus,” to distinguish them from regular bus lines.

“Students in school don’t have the opportunity to engage in projects, so they are pleased to have a real client,” said Ryan Smith, an assistant professor of architecture who has worked with students on the designs.

Should the BRT proposal be put into effect, the three designs will be used for 11 stops on a 10-mile corridor from Redwood Road to 8400 West along 3500 South. If successful, the routes will be expanded.

“It has been a great partnership between the university and UTA,” said Hal Johnson, project manager for BRT. “We’ve had great ideas from the students.”

UTA looked at proposals from 50 students in 16 teams. The students produced design development drawings at the lowest possible cost.

“It was a complete experience for them,” Smith said. “The students created their designs based on guidelines set by UTA, but had the freedom to create their own design concept.”

The teams presented their designs to a selection committee, which chose the top three to be used.

“We were looking for iconicity and for the designs to be implementable,” Johnson said.

Johnson also said that he was impressed. “I could not have, in the private sector, gotten a better value for the money spent.”

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