Cogswell College, a leading educational institution offering a unique curriculum fusing Digital Art, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, joined creative forces with the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit). AC Transit is California’s third-largest bus agency, providing an average of nearly 200,000 daily passenger trips with 151 bus lines throughout its 364-square-mile service area.

In June 2016, AC Transit announced the start of major construction for installation of the East Bay’s unprecedented Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The Bus Rapid Transit system or BRT will revolutionize public transit in the East Bay by increasing reliability and reducing travel times along one of the region’s busiest corridors. Since BRT is community focused transit, AC Transit sought a public messaging campaign that would appeal to the historic diversity of the East Bay.

After an exhaustive search of community based groups and colleges offering digital art, animation, and audio services, Cogswell College’s MediaWorks program garnered overwhelming approval by AC Transit’s executive staff. Twenty-five students, working closely with AC Transit staff, designed musical scores, digital art, and animation that depicted the landscape of the BRT route and incorporated the corridor’s rich diversity. The result was this imaginative video which reinvented how Bay Area public transit agencies communicate with the riding public:

“The students from Cogswell College’s MediaWorks program were given a very specific project, with very specific guidelines with what we wanted as a client,” said Robert Lyles, AC Transit’s Manager of Media Affairs. “We knew we had a multi-million dollar project that most riders in our transit district did not know about. We needed to make this video digestible. We had to put together a video that would not only educate riders about the Bus Rapid Transit system, but also offer a vision of what BRT would mean for their daily commutes and how it might improve their neighborhoods. The final video product delivered by MediaWorks definitely achieved that goal.” 

As a result, AC Transit and Cogswell College entered into an in-kind promotional agreement for a fully wrapped 40-foot Bus. The college’s eye catching orange and black school colors served as the base for the promotional wrap. The imagery on the sides of the bus included “Cogs” – the school’s dragon mascot - along with the school’s logo, website address and the tagline: “Discover Your Fire!” This highly visible bus, estimated to be seen by over 170,000 passengers per day, is helping to promote Cogswell College to residents living in and around the East Bay area.

Said Ken Banks, Cogswell College’s Acting President, “The Bus wrap we collaborated on with AC Transit is a truly important advertising and promotional tool for our school outside of the South Bay area. It reflects the creativity and imagination of our student body and is helping us reach out to prospective new students in an equally imaginative way. The Bus is quite beautiful and everyone here at Cogswell was very excited to see it, especially the members of our Esports team who posed with it immediately upon its arrival on our campus. We even got phone calls from numerous Cogswell alumni who had seen the bus on East Bay streets and simply had to let us know how impactful they felt it was. We are looking forward to our continued partnership with AC Transit well into 2017 and beyond!”

The success of the MediaWorks project has spawned a second collaborative agreement between Cogswell College and AC Transit. At present, students from Cogswell’s Game Studio class are developing an original game app for AC Transit. This transit-themed video game is also a first-of-its-kind undertaking for a transit agency and will be available via Apple and Google App stores early in 2017. A sneak peek of the app, entitled “AC Transit: Drive,” is available at:

The backbone of AC Transit’s inventive Bus Rapid Transit system are 12 curbside stations and another 21 center median stations that mirror the design of train platforms for faster boarding. In place of a dedicated rail line, BRT will primarily operate inside a bus-only lane to achieve train-like frequency.

AC Transit is an innovative, modern bus system, owned by the public of the East Bay. Voters created the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) in 1956 and subsequently approved a $16,500,000 bond issue in 1959 enabling the District to buy out the failing privately owned Key System Transit Lines. In October 1960, AC Transit’s service began. 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of AC Transit bus service. In the more than half century that AC Transit has been in operation, the District has expanded its service area considerably, expanded the types of services it offers, and become a leader in the use of alternative fuels. As at its inception, AC Transit is continually looking forward for better ways to move people.

AC Transit’s service area is divided into two parts, called Special Transit Service Districts 1 and 2. Special Transit Service District 1 extends from San Pablo Bay to Hayward, including the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, and the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Sobrante, Kensington, and San Lorenzo.

Special Transit Service District 2 consists of the cities of Fremont and Newark in southwestern Alameda County where AC Transit operates a network of local routes. Please see:

Uniquely offered by Cogswell College, MediaWorks is a project-based learning Digital Audio Technology initiative, in which Audio and Digital Art & Animation students collaborate as a communications agency on the production of short audiovisual pieces made for various Silicon Valley businesses – and beyond. These impressive, dangerously original audiovisual pieces are created by Cogswell students under the guidance of the Audio and Visual Directors. The results are industry-quality "media works." 

The produced pieces include sound design, original music, animation and live action footage. The projects involve real-life client meetings, creative brief and concept generation, participation in the approval process, project and time management, deadlines and full-scale production by students working individually, in teams and cross-team. The production follows the current industry pipeline and delivery standards.

Designed as a “fiercely collaborative, living laboratory,” Cogswell College is located in the heart of the legendary Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. The school is a WASC accredited, four-year institution of higher education with a specialized curriculum that fuses digital arts, audio technology, game design, engineering and entrepreneurship. 

In 2016, Cogswell was ranked as having a “Top 20 Game Program” by the Princeton Review. And in 2015, the school was cited by Animation Career Review as “One of the Top 50 Private Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S.” Also in 2015, Cogswell was included in Animation Magazine’s prestigious list of “Top Schools to Hire From.” 

Numerous alumni of Cogswell College have secured prominent positions within the entertainment, videogame, technology, computer, animation, and motion graphics industries throughout California and beyond. Several of these alumni have established careers with such high profile companies as Activision, DreamWorks Animation, Disney, Electronic Arts, Pixar, and Microsoft Game Studio. Many other alumni have launched their own creative ventures.

Recent Cogswell alumni were members of the Academy Award-winning production teams that worked on the blockbuster films “Frozen” and “Life of Pi.” Some of the other well-known consumer projects to which Cogswell alumni have contributed include the feature films “Big Hero 6” and “The Avengers,” and the popular videogames “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Halo 4” and “Battlefield Hardline.” 

Cogswell College is located at 191 Baypointe Parkway, San Jose, California, 95134. For more information, please call 1-800-264-7955 or visit the school’s website: Cogswell College