August 2012

Digital Signage Trends Take Hold for Transit

by Erin Spandorf, Assistant Editor

It’s no secret that technology advances at a rapid rate these days and, as technology moves into the wireless age where the Internet and digital systems run most of the technology around us, it is easy to see that the same is happening to digital signage systems for the public transportation industry. Signs are beginning to use wireless signals for message displays, as well as GPS and Web-based technology.

Keeping up with trends
Some of the latest trends in digital signage include infotainment systems, which began to take hold in Europe, but are now becoming more prevalent in the U.S., according to Daniel Kelleher, VP, sales and marketing, for Luminator, a lighting and communications design and manufacturing company that serves the bus, rail and aerospace industries. Infotainment systems provide passengers visual information, utilizing LCD technology on transportation vehicles to display mapping, public service announcements, schedule changes and advertising. Kelleher explains that infotainment can provide “up-to-date information,” which can be critical to increasing ridership for transit.

The types of advertising that are developing through infotainment are evolving as well. Kelleher says that his company now has the ability to provide location-based advertising, which uses GPS tracking. As the bus nears a specific retailer or restaurant, the infotainment system can display an advertisement on the screen about that particular company. “I think the general public wants more visual information on the buses,” Kelleher says.

Hanover Displays, an electronic destination sign company, with U.S. headquarters in Illinois, also offers onboard location-based advertising, says Brandon Curtis, sales manager for North America, adding that because his company is in more than 60 countries, it has the ability to bring trending technology from overseas into the U.S. as the need arises.
When asked to point to other trends in the industry, Curtis says that white signs have been extremely popular lately because of the high visibility and high contrast. Customers want them because they are new and different, he says, adding that, “At the end of the day, amber [signage] is still most accepted by the ADA community.”

Jody Huntimer, marketing manager for Brookings, S.D.-based Daktronics Transportation, says that her company has seen more interest in LED displays. These displays are mostly used for route information and scheduling. Daktronics is currently working to provide passengers with more easily-understood and categorized information at terminals and stops.


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