Real-time information at stations/terminals


Real time information is frequently displayed at bus stations and terminals. This is additional and complementary to static information such as maps, timetables, printed materials, signage, etc.

The Real-Time information at stations/terminals consists of:

  • Large multi-line displays located at entry points, concourses, walkway intersection points etc. These typically display:
    • Listing of all departures from the station/terminal, or from that section in case of very large stations
    • Destination, route number and departure time
    • Designated platform/bay for each route/departure
    • Platform change information
    • Delay or diversion information
    • Arrival times and platforms of incoming buses (more relevant for regional and long-distance services where people may be there to meet arriving travellers)
    • Travel alerts
    • Other messages to travellers
  • Smaller multi-line displays located at individual platforms/bays or clusters of platforms/bays. These typically display:
    • Next departures from that platform
    • Destination, route number, expected departure time
    • Delay information and travel alerts
    • Information to assist boarding procedures

Some transport authorities, bus station managers or transport operators also use the information devices for:

  • ‘Infotainment’. This is prevalent where waiting times may be longer.
  • Commercial advertising, as a means of revenue generation
  • Advertising of transportation products and services
  • Safety and awareness messages and videos

Advertising content tends to be provided on the traveller information displays. Infotainment is more typically presented on a separate adjacent display.

Technologies, data and resources

The technologies used for Real Time Information at bus stations/terminals are:

  • Multi-line display units (LED, dot matrix, …)
  • Plasma screens
  • Communication channels
  • Information management systems

The data requirements are:

  • Real-time information from the CAD/AVM system or other RTPI server
  • Platform allocation information
  • Delay and alert information
  • Customer messages from information management system or CAD/AVM system
  • Infotainment and advertising feeds

Advantages and Cautions

The primary advantages of Traveller Information at Bus Station applications are to:

  • Provide travellers with information they need at busy stations and at interchange/transfer points
  • Assist travellers find their boarding points, especially when platform changes occur
  • Give reassurance/confidence to travellers and reduce their stress in what is often an intimidating environment
  • Provide an effective channel to advise of delays and service changes in case of delayed incoming vehicles, disruptions, emergency, weather event, etc.
  • Market own services
  • Gain revenue opportunities from advertising

The principal cautions in relation to Traveller Information on PC/Internet are:

  • Location of the displays is extremely important.
    • A structured approach is needed for all displays within a station/terminal so that their cumulative effect is maximised
    • Displays need to be located where they have high visibility and are easily read.
    • However, they should not be located such that travellers pausing to read the information interfere with the general flow, or are in an unsafe location.
  • Infotainment should not encourage people to gather/linger in locations that interfere with smooth operation of the station/terminal
  • In some cases, the opportunities for revenue from advertising override the original purpose of real-time information systems, which is to assist the traveller in using the passenger transportation services.

Relevant Case Studies

Mysore, Zurich