The Bus to the Future

Signs in downtown bus shelters and attached to COTA sign posts, placards in buses


Martin Keil and Henrik Mayer

Berlin, Germany

May 2012–December 2013

COTA bus stop signs along High and Broad Streets / Downtown bus shelters / 80 buses
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"What would you name the bus line that leads your city to the future?" This was the question posed by the German art collaborative Reinigungsgesellschaft. The goal of their project, created in partnership with COTA, was to spur community thought and discussion on creating sustainable transportation options in and around downtown Columbus and throughout the city.

As part of their research, Martin Keil and Henrik Mayer spent more than two weeks in Columbus in February 2012. Much of this time involved riding COTA buses from one end of the city to the other while talking with riders and drivers. They concluded the research part of their project by holding a workshop on March 15 with COTA employees, riders, and community members. From their research, they developed three interventions: signage identifying 35 bus routes with names ranging from the utopian to the prosaic and ironic; large maps of the renamed routes; and placards that encouraged riders to offer further suggestions for route names. Keil and Mayer returned in May to install the works at downtown bus shelters and stops along High and Broad streets—the main crossroads of Columbus—and in 80 buses.


»Potluck Dinner with students in the OSU Department of Art, March 7, 2012 6:30pm, Sherman Studio Art Center, 1055 Carmack Road, OSU West Campus
»Meet the Artists: Bike Tour of Sites with Martin Keil and Henrik Mayer. May 26, 2012, 10 am, departing from Café Brioso, 14 East Gay.


National Endowment for the Arts
COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority)


Jamison Pack, Marty Stutz, and COTA drivers, mechanics, and riders, Elena Harvey Collins



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The Bus to the Future Photo: Nick George, The Columbus Foundation
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