Picture this: you are rushing to get to an important event that is located in an area you have not been to previously. You arrive at your stop and find yourself in an unfamiliar station with minutes to spare to get to your event. We’ve all been there and can relate to that feeling of panic that sets in when you realize you don’t know where you are going, but you need to get there fast. With little time to waste, there is nothing more frustrating than getting lost in a sea of people with no direction in sight.
This situation, especially in mass transit applications, where thousands of travelers are moving through stations on a daily basis, is becoming a thing of the past. Where the only options for travelers were relying on static signs, customer service booths, or following the crowd, travelers now have the opportunity to navigate through transit settings like never before.
By utilizing digital signage both indoors and outdoors, for example, transit facilities can offer numerous benefits to travelers, including reducing perceived wait times, utilizing wait times to share information, and easing travel with directional signage and trip updates – all leading to increased customer satisfaction.
The Move from Static to Digital Signage
Digital signage offers opportunities that static simply cannot. While printed maps and static signage can be helpful in times of power outages or electronic failures, content can easily become out of date or not offer enough detailed information to help travelers find their way or receive accurate timetables.
Digital signage also offers features that static signage cannot, such as interactivity. For instance, dynamic digital signage can offer travelers not only general directions or timetables, but also the ability to personalize the information they are receiving. With digital signage, transit facilities are able to utilize solutions, including touch screen kiosks and displays, which provide step-by-step instructions from the passenger’s starting point to their destination. These kiosks and displays might also offer the option to purchase train or bus tickets or locate restaurants near their next stop. Through interactive technology, the possibilities have become endless for transit facilities to create true personalized, customer-centric options for travelers.
Enhancing the Passenger Experience
During heavy travel periods, there are more opportunities for passengers to get lost and frustrated. Non-commuters, like those visiting family or the college spring-breakers, are not going to be as familiar as the frequent business traveler and will have a more difficult time finding their way. Digital signage can help alleviate some of this struggle by providing route options.
The entryways to train stations and bus terminals tend to receive the most traffic of any spot. Therefore, these spots are the perfect places to share pertinent information with guests. With a multitude of customization options, transit facilities can implement branded kiosks and displays, with interactive capabilities like touchscreens, credit card readers and receipt printers, and sound, to display passenger information.
In addition to the entryways, implementing digital signage in central areas or heavily traveled sections of a transit facility are also key. It’s necessary to have these options in plain sight where travelers can easily navigate to the display or kiosk, and obtain the information they are seeking.
Through eye-catching displays and consistently changing content, digital signage provides travelers with up-to-date travel information for a seamless experience. For instance, if there are delays, construction, or closures, directions can be displayed to help reroute passengers.
Additionally, implementing wayfinding and self-service kiosks allows travelers to print tickets, locate facilities, and much more. These kiosks also enhance the customer experience, reduce staffing costs, and more efficiently utilize resources.
Further, digital signage can help facilitate passengers during emergencies – one of the most important features of digital signage. Whether it’s a fire, or a serious evacuation situation, travelers will know what to do, where to go, and where the nearest exit is through digital signage.
Special Considerations for Transit Settings
From real-time arrival and departure information at the train station to digital advertising at the bus stop to directional information at the subway station, outdoor displays have become key to both customers and staff at transportation agencies.
Before choosing and installing outdoor displays, it is crucial to remember that digital displays deployed outdoors are subject to the elements 24/7. It’s important to consider the following factors and how they will affect the outdoor digital display.
An indoor display simply won’t do for most transit facilities. Mass transit outdoor displays must be designed to withstand a fluctuation of temperatures, complete with an internal cooling and warming system to keep inside components at the proper temperature. It’s a must to have a fully-sealed design to prevent water, dust, or insects from entering the display. Ambient light sensors in these displays automatically adjust the display’s brightness while anti-reflective and impact-resistant safety glass prevent sun glare and damage. Displays used must also be designed to withstand high winds and the excessive shock/vibration that is caused by passing trains/buses.
Peerless-AV Xtreme™ Outdoor Displays, for example, are the perfect solution for mass transit because they are 100% sealed and engineered to endure the outside elements in all seasons. The displays are designed to operate in a range of temperature extremes, from -40°F to 140°F and can be subjected to rust and corrosion. The unique fully-sealed design eliminates the need for vents, filters, or exhaust fans and provides the ultimate protection against weather, water and dust. The display’s Dynamic Thermal Transfer™ system keeps internal components safely warmed in extreme cold and properly cooled in extreme heat.
Once the aforementioned have been considered, the true takeaway here is the numerous opportunities for functions of digital signage in transit settings. Digital signage can be used to offer clear passenger information, provide personalized guest service and wayfinding, communicate with travelers, and more. With advanced audio-visual solutions, transit facilities can now create a 360-degree travel experience, allowing passengers to interact with transit providers anywhere, at any time of day. A constant stream of fresh content on-demand is the expectation these days and it is through digital signage that transit agencies can truly accomplish superb communication with customers.
Peerless-AV is a member of the Digital Signage Federation, the only independent, not-for-profit trade organization serving the digital signage industry. The DSF supports and promotes the common business interests of worldwide digital signage, interactive technologies and digital out-of-home network industries. To learn more, go to www.digitalsignagefederation.org
Earl Naegele is the managing director of Commercial Sales with Peerless-AV.