Voting has officially opened in the People’s Choice award for the City of Hobart’s Digital Bus Shelter Design Competition, in which entrants provided ideas for interactive, sustainable, and digitally connected bus shelters across the City’s transport network.

Ideas for the bus shelters included designs that would entertain children, light up to let bus drivers know passengers are waiting, and offer translation services to improve accessibility.

Hobart Lord Mayor, Anna Reynolds, unveiled a public display of competition entries at the City of Hobart’s customer service centre on 29 April 2021.

“Bus shelters have been under-done in Hobart for several years and it can have a really significant impact on how attractive it is for residents to use public transport,” Ms Reynolds said. 

“A shelter that’s accessible, comfortable and useful is so important for bus patrons.

“That challenge has been taken up through this competition with some really practical and thoughtful solutions.

“There’s also a strong focus on sustainability, with many of the entries using locally sourced renewable timber or recycled plastic.

“Among the entries is a bus shelter that includes a play environment for children; a periscope to view the street from different angles; services for tourists; lights that show approaching bus drivers that someone is waiting at the stop; shelters that interact with an app; and hi-tech safety features.

“Importantly, many of the designs also cater for diversity and people of all abilities, with features like spoken announcements, hearing loops, wheelchair access and smart translation services.”

The competition, launched in mid-2020, attracted more than 120 innovators from across Australia, the USA, India, South America, Russia, Ukraine, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy and France.

Ms Reynolds said she was particularly pleased that Tasmanian designers had taken up the challenge.

“There were at least 13 entries from within Tasmania and it was interesting that they tended to focus on the weather more than other entries.

“The quality of the local entries was outstanding and came from both students and lecturers at UTas, as well as professionals in a range of design and engineering related industries.”

From 29 April, members of the public will be able to vote for their favourite design in a People’s Choice Award.

“We’re interested to see what the community thinks of these designs and how they might be incorporated into our public transport network,” Ms Reynolds said. 

“This project is a chance for our city to become a world leader in smart public transport technology to help reduce traffic congestion as we move towards a zero-emissions future.”

Entries have been received from world-class architects, engineers, industrial designers, urban planners, transport specialists, programmers, internet of things and technology experts, game and animation designers, fabrication experts, artists, furniture makers, students and innovation specialists among the teams of creatives offering transformative and practical solutions to improve Hobart’s public transport user-experience.

The Challenge is part of the City of Hobart’s Connected Hobart Framework and Action Plan, which is guiding the City towards innovative solutions to traffic congestion and other sustainability challenges.

The community is invited to attend the opening and vote in the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced along with the overall winner on 31 May.

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