School Minibus by Johnathan Côté, Canada

2007: Sharing the Road.

Scale Model on Display at Michelin Challenge Design™


Johnathan Côté, a Canadian industrial designer, graduated from the Université de Montréal with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design focusing on transportation design. Today, he lives his passion at Brio Innovation Inc., a transportation design firm in the Montréal area.

He also holds a variety of experiences in product development ranging from consumers products with Nb Design to advanced product design with BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products). Amongst design honors he has received; honorable mentions from the industrial designers association of Québec (ADIQ), Lumec for lighting design and Lacasse Group in specialized furniture design. In 2005, he won internship at BRP with first place in the recreational vehicle manufacturer’s competition. The project was an integration of gaming interface into a prospective low speed bike.


School minibus design has reached a certain level of maturity. Today, school buses are 16 times more secure than any other means of transportation. However, the challenge is for manufacturers to not only improve passenger’s security but to also develop new markets. It becomes primordial that they find new niches to keep their share in the global market.

This project deals with this particular issue and tries to put forth innovative solutions. This would mean satisfying the needs of manufacturers, service providers and public institutions, all the while, meeting our world’s new sets of economical and environmental constraints.

The proposed concept introduces a new platform truck that would be used as a school bus, a recreational vehicle and a service truck (police, ambulance, cube truck etc.). As a generic base, the vehicle would be equipped with an electric TM4 wheel-motor-system. This powertrain solution would be delivered with a specially designed Michelin tire system that would better absorb vibrations while in service.

Mainly, the design concept is focused on visibility; improving the driver’s view of the exterior as well as improving the vehicle’s visibility on the road. Equally important, this design addresses the boarding process of people with special needs and children security issues.

In addition, passenger safety (during vehicle motion) is assured by an electronic control system. Integrated as part of the seat belt warning system, a pressure-sensitive sensor located in the seating surface, would send a warning signal to the driver, indicating that a seat belt is not attached at an occupied seat.

Also, by lowering the chassis (of the buses) we reduce the risks of fender wedge effect during severe impacts.

Finally, the main idea in this project was to develop a new market in the transportation vehicle industry with a harmonious approach in regards to security and the environment.