City reveals Aero as brand for Peoria Avenue rapid-transit bus route

Named ‘Aero,’ it taps into city’s aviation history

The long-planned rapid-transit bus route along Peoria Avenue got a name Thursday, and residents can bet on seeing a lot of it when the route opens in the spring of 2019.

The bus route is branded Aero, city officials announced. That’s a reference to Tulsa’s aerospace industry, and the logo includes art deco elements set in a green palette.

Officials hope it is the start of a future with several rapid-transit routes in Tulsa under the Aero brand, which will be the center of a marketing campaign once the bus route is ready to launch.

“Aero and art deco really do remind us of the spirit that built Tulsa up in the 20th century,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “When most Americans had never seen an airplane, we built an airport. That’s why the aviation industry grew here.”

The logo and brand were selected through a marketing committee with the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority as part of a multiphased effort to design the route.

Peoria Avenue was chosen because one in seven Tulsa residents live within a 10-minute walk of the corridor and one-fifth of Tulsa’s jobs are within a 10-minute walk of Peoria Avenue, according to city studies.

The route will run buses seven days a week up and down the 18-mile stretch from 54th Street North to 81st Street South.

The rapid-transit aspect of the route means a bus can be expected to stop at each of about 50 planned stops every 15 minutes.

James Wagner, chief of performance strategy and innovation at the Mayor’s Office, said residents will first start to see the unique stations built along Peoria.

Wagner, who previously worked on transportation issues at the Indian Nations Council of Governments, got credit from Bynum for first bringing the concept of bus-rapid transit to councilors several years ago.

The idea was part of Tulsa Transit’s long-term plans before it was reshaped for funding in Vision Tulsa, which accelerated its adoption.

The funding to build stations and buy nine new buses with the Aero brand comes from the Tulsa Vision permanent transit tax that voters approved in April 2016.

The stations will have elevated-concrete pads and shelters built so bus riders can step directly onto and off the specialty buses, Wagner said.

Stations will be on either side of the street every mile or so for most of the corridor, he said.

Stations will have unique elements to fit their location or the surrounding neighborhood, with three levels of design concepts from basic to more complex with bike racks and larger shelter space.

A marketing campaign will launch before the route opens in 2019.

“Aero captures the evolution and forward thinking of our city,” said Debbie Ruggles, assistant general manager of Tulsa Transit. “It also is reminiscent of Tulsa’s history with the aerospace industry and the influence of art deco elements of our city.”

“The new Aero system is an opportunity for Tulsans to get out of their cars and ride differently. The (bus route) will help users travel to key destinations for work and recreation in a fast and easy way.”