By Cliff Anderson
Passenger information systems have become a key customer service tool for transit agencies to communicate efficiently and effectively with their riders. Of course, passengers expect to know when their bus will arrive/depart, the route it will travel, and which stops and connections are on the route. However, they will also want to know when delays or changes occur that may impact their trip due to accidents, traffic and weather delays, mechanical issues, or other unplanned events. If a service disruption occurs, the transit agency (TA) can send out a real-time update to inform passengers of the impact and what rescheduling alternatives are available that they can consider. Whether on a vehicle or waiting at a stop or station, customers want to be informed and feel confident that they will get to where they are going reliably, safely, and on-time.
Passenger updates occur by integrating automated vehicle location software and other networked systems together to provide location awareness. Via wireless communication equipment, each bus receives RSS information such as news, weather, sports, traffic updates, and more. The information is then displayed on the onboard high definition TFT displays.
New advertising revenue can also be generated by the transit agency. Local business owners want to draw traffic from the bus stops that are near them for lunch, shopping, sporting events, and other activities. The advertising content (pictures, video, graphics, text) can be easily created and uploaded, then automatically displayed based on time or location at a precisely desirable moment. The ad can then be logged as well for proof of display by the transit agency.
Public safety and policy announcements, as well as brand messaging, can also be displayed by the TA via a passenger information system. Announcements can be audible (and in multiple languages if desired) for riders with vision impairment or other disabilities in compliance with U.S. DOT ADA regulations.
The security of passengers, drivers, and on-board equipment is an ongoing priority for transit agencies. By integrating onboard CCTV cameras with the passenger information system and displaying the video stream on the TFT displays, riders will immediately know that any crimes committed can be video recorded. Some CCTV systems can additionally integrate wirelessly with nearby police vehicles to assist with investigations or even events as they occur.
As you can see, passenger information systems are becoming increasingly robust and critical information networks for transit agencies. These increased levels of integration are keeping passengers informed, safe, and aware, while also creating a return on equipment investment for transit agencies.
Cliff Anderson is marketing manager for Luminator Technology Group, a provider of mass transit destination signs, on board infotainment and passenger information systems.