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