This Boston Rapid Transit Campaign Proves There's Beauty in Buses

If you're seeing more people than usual taking artsy photos of the buses whizzing around Boston these days, there's a good reason.

"BostonBRT is a research and community engagement initiative to explore the potential of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Boston," explains Adrian Gill, founder of Ad Hoc Industries, the creative agency responsible for the campaign. "Beauty and the Bus" was conceived "as a 10 week social media contest with a nod to the tale of the ages that beauty is there if you look for it. It’s a fun way to raise awareness by encouraging commuters to take creative photographs or video, highlighting visual interest through their eyes and capturing beautiful moments in appreciation for the often maligned bus."

By encouraging citizens to seek out the beauty in their everyday commutes, the hope is to spark a positive conversation about bus transit and how it might be improved by implementing Bus Rapid Transit.

"Bus Rapid Transit weaves together elements of bus and rail to create a unique mode of transportation with high levels of speed, capacity, and comfort," the campaigns website states. "Cities are also using BRT corridors in inspiring ways, building iconic stations that anchor development in neighborhoods, and designing 'complete streets' that integrate transit, bike paths, and walkways to bring vibrancy and balance to cityscapes."

Find Beauty in the Commute: #BosBRT launches Beauty & the Bus to build awareness of Gold Standard Bus Rapid Transit.

— BostonTweet (@BostonTweet) March 30, 2017
Each week, a panel of judges reviews the images commuters send in through Instagram, FB and Twitter via the hashtag #BosBRT, and selects the top five images based on originality, composition, artistic merit and overall impact. Each prize winner receives a weekend stay at one of three Marriott hotels in the Seaport District – Westin Boston Waterfront,  Aloft Boston Seaport, and Element Boston Seaport – plus $150 in spending money.

The help spread the word, the campaign has enlisted the help of local influencers like Tom O'Keefe (@BostonTweet) and Krissy Price (@BostonPollen).

The campaign ends June 7, at which point there will be an event to celebrate all the contest winners. So far, says Gill, they've been inundated with hundreds of submissions.

"It’s easy to be critical about the current system," says Gill. "This approach takes a different stance, in essence celebrating the current system, while advocating for the new improved one."

The BostonBRT initiative is spearheaded and funded by the Barr Foundation; you can learn more about BRT here.

Check out some of our favorite "Beauty and the Bus" photos below:

Photos, in order: @melyc; @xraee@brian_dec; @jo.christopher.

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