Washington DC, US: In the US capital – Washington DC, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein unveiled a new multi-modal information screen, a prototype for those that the department will be placing in bus shelters and at major pedestrian activity centres throughout the District as early as this spring.
The new displays, some more than a meter wide, will combine information about D.C.’s two bus systems—Metrobus and the Circulator—Metrorail, Capital Bikeshare, and ZipCar, a car sharing service. This information is presented in a simple, visually appealing format, along with an area map and weather forecast.
D.C.’s new displays are being funded by a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, are a part of a larger trend across the globe to provide easy access to transportation information for city dwellers.
Public transit often suffers from several downfalls of perception—unfamiliarity being one of them. Infrequent or non-riders avoid transit because much or everything about it is unfamiliar. This unfamiliarity is what transit agencies struggle against everyday as they look for better ways to depict their route maps, timetables, wayfinding and other user information systems. But many of these ways of communicating information are internal to the system, observes a report published in thecityfix.com.
The DDOT displays will do just that. The first prototype has been placed in a street-level window of the D.C. government’s Reeves Center, which is located at a major pedestrian intersection in the rapidly gentrifying U Street neighbourhood. The intersection is served by eight Metrobus routes and a Circulator, and is located one block from a Metro station. There are four bike sharing stations and some half-dozen car share vehicles at five locations, all within three blocks of the Reeves Center.
On the display, people can see real-time information for every mode on the map: arrival times for each bus route and Metro line, bike and dock availability for each bike share station, and vehicle availability for each ZipCar location. A news ticker along the bottom streams local news and any Metro, Circulator or Metrobus service disruptions.
Additionally, DDOT will be trying out different map layouts for displays that are not placed directly in bus stops, to better indicate where the closest stops for each route are located. Google will soon be improving their map imagery, DDOT Chief Information Officer Lance Schine said, around the same time that WMATA is expected to begin feeding their route and schedule data into Google Transit, and that should offer more options for the area maps.
DDOT’s prototype costs around USD 25,000 and future displays may run as high as USD 20,000 a piece.