5 R's for Optimizing Digital Transportation Signage

April 15, 2011
Ensure a smooth takeoff for your transportation signage project with these five points to consider.

Digital transportation signage can be a goldmine for marketers, as well as a practical source of information and a useful distraction for commuters and travelers. Whether by plane, train, bus or boat, passengers are standing in ticket lines, waiting to board, or confined to their chosen mode of transport for extended periods. Opportunities for finding the ‘dwell zones’ where people will pause to watch a video display abound. But so do the challenges. Factors such as public safety, vibration, dust, temperature variations, display proximity to passengers, and the risk of vandalism and theft in the public space must be taken into account in choosing both the displays and the mounting hardware. Content must be tailored to longer viewing times and repeat trips. And so on. How do you do it? In basic terms, there are five R's to help ensure smooth takeoff for your transportation signage project. 1 – The Right display It goes without saying that you need to match the display size to the application, but you also need a unit that can withstand the grime of a subway, the paws of thousands of bus passengers, extreme heat or cold, and other conditions not typically encountered in digital signage jobs. Depending on the specific site or vehicle as well as factors like display height, you may need a ruggedized enclosure, a thicker viewing screen, a housing with security locks, or other special design features to ensure reliability. 2 – The Right mount In addition to selecting a flat, tilt, pivot or articulating mount to fit the specific space, you need to be sure that the mounting hardware provides safety, security and durability. This is true in a terminal concourse – where a mount failure could be catastrophic – as well as for displays installed in shaking trains, turbulent planes, bumpy buses and cruise ships navigating choppy waters. Is the mount UL listed to hold 400 percent of maximum weight capacity? Does it have built-in tamper-proof and/or safety features such as latches, locking screws and spring clips to thwart theft and hold it firmly in place? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 3 – The Right testing In any transportation setting, digital signage systems must be thoroughly tested prior to deployment to pinpoint performance problems related to the environmental conditions or the safety challenges of hanging a 200-pound glass and steel structure in a high-traffic area. 4 - The Right location As always, displays must be placed where they can be easily, safely and securely viewed as well as serviced, replaced and updated without difficulty. Whether you’re dealing with in-vehicle displays, wayfinding signage or video screens used to keep waiting passengers occupied at terminal gates, successful ‘screen spotting’ will help determine the effectiveness of your deployment. 5 – The Right content While some transportation applications require nothing more than pure travel information such as flight and gate, others must provide value-added content such as a mix of news, weather, sports and marketing message, or in-depth information that enhances the tour bus experience. Variables such as having a captive audience for a longer period of time, or a commuter audience with the same daily schedule, must shape the content design. Whatever the details, there is a lot at stake. A poor implementation can injure passengers, anger advertisers, or otherwise fall short of goals. A successful one will smoothly direct commuters and travelers, provide real-time schedule information, reduce frustration during wait times, and otherwise make for a better travel experience. Dale Smith is managing director of Sales for Peerless Industries, a designer and manufacturer of audiovisual mounting solutions.  He can be reached by email at [email protected].