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Central Design Students Lend Creative Talents to DOT Busway Maps


When CCSU Central Design students first heard about plans for the CTfastrak, they had no idea they would end up creating a high-profile component of the region’s new $347 million rapid transit system.

To help improve mobility and manage congestion in the I-84 New Britain to Hartford corridor, CTfastrak was launched in March as Connecticut’s bus rapid transit (BRT) solution, offering the speed of a rail system with the flexibility of bus service, providing passengers convenient point-to-point service to their destinations via a dedicated, bus-only guideway.

In the spring of 2014, officials from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) reached out to Central Design (the Department of Design’s in-house studio) asking if students could create a series of large-scale, colorful, way-finding maps—one for each of the dedicated transit line’s 10 stations.

Starting with little more than a technical map of each area and some general instructions from DOT, the class, under the guidance of Assistant Professors of Design Eleanor Thornton and Tina Rice, dedicated thousands of volunteer hours creating and revising the wall-mounted maps depicting the new busway line, nearby buildings, and stop-specific businesses and local attractions.

On the first day of service, CTfastrak passengers traveling on the New Britain-to-Hartford line were the first riders to utilize the student-designed maps.

“It’s really exciting,” says Design student Micheal Goroff. “It’s been awesome. It will be really cool to see our maps all the way from one end of the busway to the other.”

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