New York, N.Y.
President and CEO
This is an exciting time to be working in transit advertising. Our landscape is changing quickly, perhaps more quickly than all other media. Just as the high income consumers who use mass transit are more connected with modern technology, transit authorities themselves are responding to these changes in consumer behavior by evolving the way they speak to their customers.
Digital arrival and departure screens are not new, but increasingly transit authorities across the country are embracing these displays, not only to keep riders updated and informed on travel times, but also to entertain them as they wait for their trains and buses to arrive and pick them up.
Choosing the best displays to install, the best locations to optimize eyeballs, which data feeds to connect to and which content-serving technologies to use are just some of the challenges transit authorities face when installing new digital displays. But these issues are easily overcome and the benefits of doing so are great.
Digital displays reflect real-time information and are therefore of great value to riders. Well-thought-out displays also add to the environments where they’re placed. The editorial content they can offer also caters to the long dwell times many consumers face during their daily commutes.
And then there is advertising. Digital displays allow brands to be more responsive to time, day and location. Production costs are less than printing material for traditional transit displays. Digital advertising is also beginning to be traded and bought through automated systems, opening the medium up to a wider constituency of advertiser. Digital screens will also soon be able to be aware and responsive to the people around them, delivering content in more targeted, and therefore more interesting, ways. Digital displays and traditional transit displays work well together too, allowing consumers the ability to participate and interact with brands via their smartphones.
Ultimately, this is helping to increase revenue for transit authorities as well as enabling brands to speak to consumers in whole new interactive ways.
Vice President, Business Development
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) is comprised of 88 stations, 106 miles of track and 1,116 railcars serving customers in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. As the second largest rail transit system in the U.S., it’s crucial for Metro to continually serve as an easy travel option for its riders.
In late 2012, Metro started work on a digital signage project where 110, 47-inch digital signage displays were implemented on indoor and outdoor kiosks across all of the rail transit system’s 88 stations.
Over the past year, the Metro’s Kiosk Information Display System (KIDS) showed information to help riders adjust their travel plans, ranging from real-time service disruption updates to advanced notice of planned outages and service changes. The system even made recommendations to riders for busy travel times based on the station location, including suggested destination stations for the four key locations of the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, alternate stations to utilize during the busy Cherry Blossom Festival, and route guidance and reminders to buy round-trip tickets for the 2013 Washington Nationals season opener.
Real-time live updates for all five of Metro’s rail lines are aggregated and delivered through X-Factor Communications’ Digital Screen Control Portal DSCP:// platform. The updates are then fed over the wide area network to each Peerless-AV Xtreme display via a Cisco digital media player hooked up to the display with a HDMI connection inside of the kiosk booth, which allows it to also serve as a customer service booth, literature holder and equipment facility.
The displays show this vital information in full 1080p HD and are easily visible to all riders due to the use of a flat panel mount that can handle harsh outdoor and indoor applications present at transit stations.