The screens provide important real-time service information for customers while generating advertising revenue for the MTA. - Joe Chan/MTA NYC Transit

The screens provide important real-time service information for customers while generating advertising revenue for the MTA.

Joe Chan/MTA NYC Transit

With subway ridership reaching nearly 1.1 million customers on July 6, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is deploying 9,000 new digital screens across the system over the next 12 to 14 months. The initiative also includes the recent deployment of Mercury, a new communications platform that enables location-specific, targeted content to be sent to screens outside and in stations as well as on platforms throughout the subway system to bolster customer communication for the future.

The platform provides the MTA with the ability to display location-specific service information on screens in stations throughout the system, including planned and unplanned service changes, dynamic service alternatives, train arrival information at nearby stations, last train departure times before overnight service changes, and nearby bus routes. In a future capability that is under development, the screens will also be utilized to alert riders at street level when stations become crowded, due to service changes or delays so they have the choice ahead of time not to enter a station.

Working with Outfront Media, leaders from MTA Construction and Development (C&D) began efforts to modernize digital signage in 2018. The screens provide important real-time service information for customers while generating advertising revenue for the agency. There are currently 5,434 screens in the MTA system — the majority of which are in the subway system — and MTA C&D is planning to add more than 9,000 additional screens over the next 12-14 months, including in subway cars, increasing the agency’s ability to provide customer information and generate ad revenue. All 472 New York City Subway stations are expected to include these new digital screens by 2023.

Mercury allows the MTA’s customer communications teams to push specific information to certain screens — only on a particular line, for instance, a particular station, or even a particular platform. Mercury also feeds that same information to the MTA’s social-media channels, the MYmta app, and third-party apps that post MTA service alerts. Eventually, Mercury will manage many other screens in the MTA network across the region.

Working with Outfront Media, leaders from MTA Construction and Development (C&D) began efforts to modernize digital signage in 2018. The screens provide important real-time service information for customers while generating advertising revenue for the agency. The new Mercury platform was custom built by Postlight, an engineering and design firm in New York City that builds highly scalable software platforms that power apps and services that impact millions of people.

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