Palm Tran installs new audiovisual information system on buses

May 19, 2021
The systems will provide real-time visual and audio announcements, to make riding transit easier and more accessible.

Palm Tran will make riding the bus easier and more accessible by installing new audiovisual systems on its fixed-route vehicles. Designed by Avail Technologies Inc., a company that specializes in transit technology, the systems will provide real-time visual and audio announcements about approaching stops, the location of other Palm Tran and Tri-Rail vehicles and safety policies.

“Avail Technologies provided us with an opportunity to improve our Messenger Point Media system in exciting ways. We will be able to ensure our announcements are up to date and that riders receive nearly real-time updates that will streamline their travel experience,” said Palm Tran Senior Manager of Information Technology Renato T. Paiva.

The new systems will include two 23.7 inch screens with LCD displays and integrated speakers with class D amplifiers. Paiva notes that riders likely won’t notice one critical feature of the new systems. “The new systems will allow us to update announcements and policy changes in a standardized way,” said Paiva. “As we have seen during the pandemic, we need our riders to have the latest information about schedules and policies.”

The system is scheduled to be installed on six fixed-route vehicles in early June 2021 and the entire fleet of more than 150 vehicles should be fitted with the new technology by the end of July 2021. “Palm Tran remains committed to providing exceptional service to our riders,” said Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes. “These new audio-visual systems will make it easier for riders to find their stops, stay informed about our policies, and enjoy their traveling experience.”

The technology will provide additional resources to riders with visual and hearing impairments. The two screens will be placed strategically in the front and back of buses to ensure riders who rely on visual announcements can access them. At the same time, the system’s integrated audio system will allow riders with visual impairments to hear about announcements and upcoming stops without having to ask the operator or fellow passengers. “We want everyone to be included and have access to opportunities and be able to participate equally. Whether you use a walker, a wheelchair, or are visually or hearing impaired, you should have the same opportunities as everyone else,” said Palm Tran Outreach/Direct Services Worker Nicole Fincham-Shehan.

Paiva believes the new technology aligns with Palm Tran’s overall objectives for assisting its riders.

“We want to provide mobility management options to our riders. That’s power. The power to know when they need to be at the stop and the power to know how to better manage their trip,” said Paiva.