Silicon Valley's Public Transit Will Become More Tech-Friendly (And GOOD Helped) Silicon Valley's Public Transit Will Become More Tech-Friendly (And GOOD Helped)

Silicon Valley's Public Transit Will Become More Tech-Friendly (And GOOD Helped)

by Alissa Walker

March 3, 2011

Fast forward to last week's announcement, where VTA claimed that by early next year, 20 express buses will be equipped with wi-fi, comfortable reclining seats, and bike racks. Other amenities that may be included are storage areas, tray tables, and cup holders. And they also mentioned that route changes would look at reaching more affluent neighborhoods, and that new schedules could accommodate the slightly later workday start for many tech and creative companies. Fares for these services would raise to $5 instead of $4.

Connolly says although the VTA was already investigating some of these ideas, he believes that the work of Brute Labs helped bring about those changes in VTA's thinking. After the presentation at SPUR, he had eagerly shared the work with his team. "I took the Brute Labs presentation and the video and showed it to our general manager and I know that helped him realize that he needed to change how we serve our demanding population in Silicon Valley," says Connolly. "I can honestly say that their work helped me 'get over the hump' internally and show a reluctant executive staff that our Express Bus service was out of touch with today’s customer expectations." The board will vote on the plan March 3.


James Buyayo, head designer of Brute Labs, thinks the ability to visualize the idea in a different way for VTA planners is what made the difference. "That is one of the powers of design—it can be used as a tool to help best craft a message so that it becomes more understandable and more appealing," he says. "Maybe this different perspective and new approach was the instrumental tweak to the message that aided in convincing the staff to move forward."

Buyayo and Connolly both expressed their excitement after participating in GOOD Design Bay Area—and especially for the chance to tackle a real-world problem. "It was truly inspirational," says Buyayo. "The ability for us to have contact with Kevin within the VTA, and his enthusiasm, was incredibly helpful, not only for the information that we were able to garner from him, but also because he had the ability within the organization to actually take our suggestions and present them to the decision-makers and ultimately convinced them to act." That's exactly what we at GOOD hope that our events will do.

The next iteration of GOOD Design is coming to Los Angeles April 8 and will be featured in the next issue of the magazine. We're also excited to announce that we've launched a student program with Phil Hamlett and Tom Sieu's graduate graphic design classes at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and will be having an event up there in May. Stay tuned!

GOOD Design pairs designers with city problems proposed by urban leaders, and showcases the solutions at lively public forums. Events have been held in Los Angeles, San Francisco (twice!), New York, at the annual conference of CEOs for Cities, and with Art Center College of Design and Ringling College of Art and Design. If you'd like to bring GOOD Design to your city or school, email alissa[at]goodinc[dot]com.

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Silicon Valley's Public Transit Will Become More Tech-Friendly (And GOOD Helped)