Cities bristle with information. And they have to – living in a city is primarily about living in a large community, where connectedness and opportunity are a way of life. Bus times, traffic data, weather warnings, public Wi-Fi and digital advertising are all discrete points of information that you absorb and use day-to-day when living in a city.
A smart city is a city that harnesses this information, packaging it in a way that is relevant to its citizens. A core part of utilising this information, this data that layers our cities deeply and provides them with function, is in using digital transit signage. While digital signage has generally gotten more popular, particularly for advertising space, there exists a rich potential to expand our use of it in our public transport networks. Digital transit signage, after all, can offer a unique, flexible way to pass on information to passengers that can be updated to the minute – and it can be tailored for space. From big signs designed to weather storms while providing glossy adverts, through to small-solar powered units that can provide highly local information, digital signage can be made to work for your transit system in several ways.
Today we will be exploring three different cities that are using digital transit signage to smarten their cities and discuss the effects they have.
Cambridge has always been an early adopter of smart technology – and it is easy to understand why. There are a number of tech companies in Cambridge, in addition to MIT – the world’s leading technology institute, and Harvard. The result is a city that sizzles with smart tech.
Cambridge has been using digital transit signage to serve a broad cross-section of the community. Tech firms are able to advertise on the signs, while transport authorities use them to provide updated subway schedules. Local community groups are able to use the signage to provide relevant information and promotion for their events. The result? Transit signs that offer a greater range of usability to a greater range of stakeholders, enrichening the community.
San Jose, California
The Santa Clara Valley Transport Association adopted solar power digital signage for their bus stops and light rail stations throughout San Jose on a trial basis. Their goal was to provide a mixture of real-time arrival and departure times, as well as schedule or time-tabling changes at a moment’s notice, in an energy efficient manner. The iPad sized digital signs are powered by solar and connected to the network through 4G or Wi-Fi.
VTA found the older LED Real Time Signage too expensive and laborious to install and were after a solution that served their customers more efficiently. The new stop signage was a great solution and was able to be rolled out efficiently and quickly.
Tokyo’s subway system was an early adopter of digital signage. Initial LCD screens launched on the Yamanote line in 2002, and by 2011 there were over 20,000 screens through the Tokyo subway system. From 2010 forward, East Japan Railway Company began implementing large-scale digital signage, in order to run a complex mix of advertising campaigns, local information and news reports.
The advertising needs of brands in Tokyo were challenging. Digital signage needed to be coordinated across a broad reach – around Tokyo, and its commuter cities. There was also a desire to create more highly situational and contextual advertising (i.e. coffee adverts in the morning, through to alcohol in the evening.) A deep, broad digital signage network was able to cater to these demands.
If you are interested in implementing real-time passenger information through digital signage, talk to Radiola!
Radiola’s Real-Time Passenger Information system (RTPI) is a cloud-based GPS-tracking system that incorporates a sophisticated prediction engine providing up-to-the-minute bus service information. It is a universal solution to that universal problem – knowing when buses are arriving.