Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Tactical Quick Covers

Working with a local cut and sew production company, Public Thread, we will pilot a personal shade/cover that can be affixed to a bus stop

Photo of Lynee Wells
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With 1500 bus stops in the city, and only 250 with benches and even fewer with shelters, our riders are not experiencing a dignified nor enjoyable ride. What’s worse is our buses are often late. We’d like to prototype a small container affixed to a stop pole with a personal shade that can be opened while our riders wait for their bus. We will work with Public Thread, a local cut and sew company and use recycled banners and billboard materials which are weather proof. 

Here is an idea for how we could start to think about re-using materials that already exist and make creative spaces for those using and waiting for public transit, utilizing respect and design to inspire and make each stop look and feel different...

This is about re-using seating from the stadium but same idea - -reusing materials instead of throwing everything into the landfill.

The images above are inspiration only...we need to test out the various options with riders. Using an upcycled bag, mike jug, or laundry detergent bottle could hold either a fabric shade or an  umbrella. We are also looking into a DIY shelter with stakes/poles that can be made with local materials and customized for each neighborhood. 

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Any bus rider as they wait for their ride. We would like to prototype different solutions for a frame structure or holder, and the covering. The idea is that this shade element would be placed at every stop, and remain at the stop. It would be returned to the "holder" as the bus arrives and the person boards their bus.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Lynee Wells, President and CEO of Williams & Works is an urban planner and community advocate. Janay Brower is owner and founder of Public Thread.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $25,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We are not sure we need the full 25k. We’d pilot with zip ties and cut apart a milk jug or laundry detergent container. I’d use either umbrellas as a test. Then we’d fabricate another foldable shade with Public Thread. We’d install and observe, and survey users.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

We’d survey users before and after the product is used. We are concerned about theft, so we will need to work through solutions...people will have to leave the shade at the stop and board the bus. Or, the shade is moveable and can be left at the departure stop.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Tom Bulten

Hi Lynee: Thanks for the proposal! I'm one of the online facilitators for the City of Tomorrow Challenge here in Grand Rapids. I like the creativity of rapidly deployed "quick covers" for protection from both rain and sun. As I understand it, you're proposing to start with personal umbrellas stored at bus stops. In addition, Public Thread would design and fabricate a larger-scale, more permanent, foldable shade structure like a patio-table umbrella or awning? It would be great if you could include a photo or a sketch with the proposal.

Your proposal addresses a concern about bus stops first raised by Laura Muresan (