Bus Roots: The World’s First Green Roofed Bus

There are approximately 4,500 of these MTA vehicles in NYC. Imagine if each one of them had a rooftop garden?

There are approximately 4,500 MTA buses in NYC. Imagine if each one of them had a rooftop garden?

How can one connect urban communities with nature?  Artist and ITP student, Marco Antonio Castro Cosio, hopes his urban art project, “Bus Roots,” will answer this question.

His first prototype, the Bio Bus, is basically a mobile science lab that visits schools year round to teach kids about biology and the environment. The Bio Bus is the world’s first green roofed bus. The Bus Roots green roof covers 15 square feet of the roof, weighs 225 pounds and has successfully traveled to Long Island, the Bronx, Pennsylvania and Ohio over the past month.

Not only are green roofed buses more aesthetically pleasing, but they will help the city’s storm water management, mitigate the urban heat island effect, provide acoustical and heat insulation, reduce Co2, restore a more natural habitat, and add 35 acres of green space to NYC if Bus Roots are added to the MTA’s fleet.

Sedum on the BioBus Roof
Sedum on the BioBus Roof

Marco says his biggest challenge is getting people to believe it’s possible to grow plants on buses.

“Everyone wants to touch the plants to see if they are real, while others just passed by assuming the plants were plastic. People seem to be fixed in their belief that buses don’t grow plants.”

While many people showed interest in his project and asked how they could donate money, so far he has been more focused on keeping the plants happy. He’s open to talking to private companies and public organizations involved with public transportation, environment, parks, recreation, education, the arts, culture and urban planning.

“I know that installing Bus Roots all at once on MTA’s fleet will not be easy, but perhaps Bus Roots can can start growing organically, one bus at a time.”

To get involved contact: marco.castro@nyu.edu

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