News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 11/19/2010
Subject :

New "Faces" for Palo Alto’s FREE Shuttle Buses to be Unveiled November 22
Creative Design Effort Led by Former Mayor to Promote Awareness and Ridership
Contact : City Manager's Office    650-329-2656
Palo Alto, CA – Earlier this year, former Mayor Jim Burch pitched an idea to the City Manager, Mayor and City Council about a design project for new eye-catching graphics on Palo Alto’s free shuttle buses to improve ridership and visibility. Mayor Burch conceived of the idea, engaged City employees and community members to participate, enlisted technical support and led the project through to fruition. The City will hold an official “public unveiling” of the two buses and their new look on Monday, November 22, at 10:15 AM, on King Plaza at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto. The community is invited to attend.

The new design incorporates the original shuttle logo and depicts photographs of individuals as shuttle riders in a cartoon-style montage with humorous captions. The graphics include photos of people of all ages, gender and ethnicity, reflecting the diversity of shuttle riders who use the program to get to school, work, community facilities, shopping, medical appointments and the downtown Palo Alto train station. 

"This project is a perfect example of the kind of partnerships that make Palo Alto great. Our redesigned Palo Alto Shuttle was borne out of the enthusiasm and expertise of our own citizens who have volunteered their time and creativity to make a City service better."  Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt

Like any project, there is usually a challenge to overcome and a creative idea that gets the project moving. According to Burch, “I knew from my time on the Council that the Palo Alto shuttles had been wrapped with a colorful design in 2002 or 2003, but now only one of the four busses still carried the design and the other three were just plain white with no signage. In January when I saw in a magazine some pictures of molded plastic figures and graphics attached to busses, it made me wonder if there wasn¹t something that could be done to draw attention to Palo Alto¹s shuttles.” 

Burch sent an email to the City Manager James Keene, Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie, Mayor Pat Burt and the City Council suggesting something could be done to increase awareness of the Palo Alto shuttle service. He volunteered his assistance to devise and implement a creative solution to draw attention to the shuttles, make people more aware of the service, and increase ridership.

Shuttle design partners include Theodore Mock Photography, Harrington Design, Tango Graphics and the City of Palo Alto. Local photographer Ted Mock shot over 450 photographs for the project and graphic designer Carroll Harrington created numerous iterations of the design until a final version was selected. The majority of this technical assistance was provided pro bono. 

The photo “models” used for the new shuttle design include employees of the City who were excited and willing to help on the project as well as friends and neighbors of Burch; all were recruited by Burch.

The enthusiasm felt by everyone involved in this project may be best summed up by designer Carroll Harrington’s exclamation that “this is one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on!”