The Journey Becomes the Destination as Audiovisual Experiences Transform Transportation Hubs

Aug. 15, 2018
Transit hubs around the world are being transformed to become an immersive audiovisual experience, elevating traveler engagement.

When you think of ambiance you typically think about a fancy restaurant or perhaps an upscale nightclub. You probably don’t often consider a mass transit hub.

Well, think again, as the ambiance and aesthetics of transportation hubs around the world are now being transformed by innovative and immersive audiovisual experiences that create engaging journeys for travelers everywhere.

While audiovisual (AV) technology has long been a part of the travel experience at airports, train stations and bus depots as a means to deliver important destination, arrival and departure information, today it is becoming part of a plan to leave a memorable impression on travelers. In fact, so memorable are some of the recent AV upgrades they are actually bringing people back to a particular transportation hub when they travel again.

“We want to be able to make sure that our investments are improving the guest experience, making our operations more efficient and helping us to increase our non-aeronautical revenues,” explained Poh Li San, airport group vice president at Changi Airport in Singapore.

Poh Li San is well-positioned to talk about the impact AV tech has had on Changi Airport’s success: For the sixth year in a row, it has been named the World’s Best Airport by air travel reviewer Skytrax.

The idea behind a trend toward traveler entertainment and engagement through audiovisual experiences is the understanding that happy and relaxed travelers spend more on food and retail goods at these mass transit hubs, thereby increasing non-travel revenue.

As one of the world’s busiest airports, serving some 60 million passengers a year, Changi has added several state-of-the-art digital display solutions, including a 230-by-33-foot immersive LED display that features stunning 3D animations while passengers wait through the normally tedious security-screening process.

Many U.S. transportation locations are also using AV as a means to engage travelers, such as New York City’s soon-to-be-finish finished Moynihan Station. The project, which is part of a larger renovation effort of the iconic Penn Station, will feature an entrance with a series of atmospheric LED ceiling displays that create the impression of open sky and clouds. Today, Penn Station travelers have a far different impression of their surroundings as they moved through this busy yet outdated mass transit space.

“Moynihan is a space where the main concern is ambiance,” said Chris Mascatello, executive vice president of technology solutions for ANC, the audiovisual technology integration firm that has handled this project. “It is a space with low ceilings, and the idea is to make the passenger experience better by introducing color and dimensionality overhead.”

Along with passenger entertainment, audiovisual technology is utilized by leading mass transit terminals to more effectively inform passengers of their travel itinerary details.

A short distance to the west of Penn Station sits another major New York City transportation hub: Grand Central Terminal. Currently undergoing a $220 million renovation, the redesign leverages the latest in AV technology while also maintaining an emphasis on the venue’s rich history. New LED display screens are replacing outdated information boards at both ticket booths and platform gates in the main concourse.

“LED technology has gotten so much better that riders will have a much clearer, better, easier way to actually view the information on the boards,” said Greg Bowes, director of contracts and construction with Ford AV, which is handling the installation of the new LEDs.

Assisted by the use of innovative audiovisual solutions, these locations are becoming attractive destinations themselves, and places travelers actually look forward to experiencing as they begin or end their journeys.

And clearly, audiovisual solutions offer new commercial opportunities for transportation centers, in addition to creating exceptional traveler experiences.

At the Britomart Transportation Center in New Zealand, a galvanizing pair of premium digital displays are prominently situated in the busy transportation hub’s main train platform. Dubbed the Britomart Towers, the twin displays that measure just under 9-feet wide by 15.8 feet high are now considered among New Zealand’s most compelling and attractive advertising spaces.

As creative and engaging content continues to pair with the latest in AV tech, the transportation industry will continue to lift the overall travel experience to new heights. What was once considered the travel low point, the time spent leaving and returning back home is now being transformed into a very positive component of the travel experience. And perhaps, just as significant, as a way for these transportation hubs to add to their bottom lines.

Brad Grimes is the Senior Director of Communications of AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. AVIXA represents the $178 billion global commercial AV industry and produces InfoComm trade shows around the world. For more information, visit

About the Author

Brad Grimes | Senior Director of Communications

Brad Grimes is the Senior Director of Communications of AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association.