Project team wins award for N.Y. bus time displays

Posted on June 30, 2015

Innovative real-time passenger information signs that are currently being deployed throughout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit bus system, recently received a 2015 Project of the Year Award from the Intelligent Transportation Society of New York (ITS-NY).

STV, a leading transportation firm, in association with its subconsultant, Traffic Systems Inc., and the client, New York City Department of Transportation, were the recipients of this prestigious award, which recognizes the best intelligent transportation systems throughout the New York region.

The Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) signs utilize existing GPS tracking technology called MTA Bus Time, which provides riders with wait-time information for city buses and projects this data onto an easy-to-see LED display. The RTPI sign prototypes are both line-powered and solar-powered. The latter signs are capable of gathering enough energy to power the signs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Rider intercept surveys conducted by the STV team have shown that customers love the clocks and want to see more of them at key locations,” said Charles Ardilio, manager of STV’s ITS group, which has led the field equipment product development for the RTPI signs from conceptual design through prototype evaluation. “The project team is truly honored that this unique project was recognized by ITS-NY.”

The countdown clocks were developed in part to address concerns about the overall accessibility of MTA’s Bus Time system, which sends wait-time information to riders via text message, a QR code scan, or over a web site. The RTPI countdown clocks were launched because not every New York City bus commuter owns a smart phone or has access to online technology to access MTA Bus Time. The RTPI pilot program consisted of two solar-powered signs that were installed on Staten Island and one line-powered RTPI sign located in Manhattan. Since deploying the pilot signs, elected officials in New York City have allocated funding for more than 100 additional RTPI display signs.

“STV has set a new New York City technology standard to fundamentally change the manner in which basic transit information can be accessed at the point of boarding,” said Steven Scalici, P.E., STV project manager.

One of the hallmarks of the project team’s design was a scalable management server that will assist in the large-scale deployment of these signs throughout the city. Operators can access the management server remotely to configure and manage the RTPI signs. The system can provide the operators with features in the future such as altering power consumption for the solar signs based on exposure and weather conditions.

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