Cosmic Spaghetti on Pittsburgh's buses

With our recent work for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, we’ve been paying extra attention to what’s going on in and around the buses in Pittsburgh. We’ve observed in great detail how impressive the bus operators are. They deal with a lot of tough situations, and not all of them come from bad drivers or snowstorms.

One thing we may have taken for granted is how much fun the bus seats in Pittsburgh are. CityLab, a consistent repository for interesting and entertaining articles about urban planning and city life has an excellent look at “The Good, Bad, and Ugly Public Transit Seat Covers of the World.” And right there with London, Oslo, Istanbul, and Berlin is what they call the “cosmic spaghetti” of the Port Authority’s buses.

In the article they look for four things to make up a quality seat design. Before we get to them, here’s a quick PSA


mo·quette /mōˈket/ - noun

a thick pile fabric used for carpets and upholstery, as in "look at these expensive moquette seat covers"

ok, back to the four things to look for:

Memorability. They need to be striking enough to create an instant impression.

Freshness. Moquette needs to be bright enough in color to appear new(ish) after years of wear, but not so pale as to make stains or fade evident.

Intricacy. Large empty monochrome spaces show wear more quickly, and provide too tempting a canvas for vandals.

Anti-Dazzle. Moquette shouldn’t be so bright and busy that it turns stomachs.


Pittsburgh’s current design meets the criteria for certain. Bold, bright, definitely intricate, and not overpowering. It’s a good one for sure.

The ‘cosmic spaghetti’ however is not the only moquette from Pittsburgh that is beloved.

There is an entire range of items for sale with a different Pittsburgh bus print. Shirts, bags, curtains, pillows, and even backpacks are available.

Our Chicago team isn’t so lucky to sit upon a fun moquette during their commutes. The Chicago Transit Authority buses sport nothing but a boring navy blue. However, in 2015 there was a great cancer awareness ad that livened up the backs of the seats in the windy city…