A new interactive bus shelter mapping tool is being tested in London’s Regent Street by media and advertising company Clear Channel UK in collaboration with Transport for London (TfL), it reported on Wednesday.
Clear Channel UK developed and funded the innovative mapping tool, said to be the first to operate in a UK bus shelter, to coincide with the Year of the Bus, a celebration of the heritage and future of London buses.
The state-of-the-art digital screen is positioned at Piccadilly Circus’s bus stop ‘G’, one of London’s busiest shopping areas. TfL’s data feed of live departure information is incorporated into the interactive screen, providing bus passengers with live bus arrival information. The new panel also provides wider transport network updates from the London Underground and real-time availability of nearby Barclays Cycle Hire bikes and docking points. The mapping tool screen is accessible for wheelchair users and is also usable for most people with visual or hearing impairments, TfL added.
In addition, local area information is available on the screen, including maps and walking routes to tourist attractions, theatres and shops. Clear Channel will monitor customer interaction with the screen over the next two months and the data will be analysed in order to enhance the service.
According to TfL, 70% of Londoners own a Smartphone and 87% use the Internet for maps and directions. Therefore customers are increasingly requiring access to travel information through digital and social media. TfL provides free, open data which is currently being used by over 5,000 app developers.
Managing director of Surface Transport at TfL, Leon Daniels, stated: “We’re delighted to team up with Clear Channel to make live travel information even more accessible to our customers. Regent Street is an iconic location, used not only by Londoners but tourists from across the world and by giving them live travel information via touchscreen, they will be able to make the most of all transport options to get around the capital, be it on foot, bike, Tube or by an iconic London bus.
Daniels added: “As we celebrate the year of the bus, this is another reminder of how technology has transformed how we communicate with our customers and how they want to receive information from us. Our customers now rightly regard real time travel information as part of the core service we provide and this is an innovative way we can explore getting information they need to them. If the trial is as successful as we hope, then we will work with Clear Channel to introduce the mapping tool to other key sites across London.”
Dave Huckerby, Adshel Development Director at Clear Channel UK, commented: “Many people will know Clear Channel as a media company. We also spend a lot of time working with transit and local authorities to improve bus travel for commuters. Recently this has meant allowing people to use their smartphones to interact with bus stops and developing shelters that are more sustainable. Now we’ve been able to bring real-time mapping to the streets of London.”
“This is a highly technical bus shelter and a real glimpse into the future of urban transportation. We’re grateful to TfL for working closely with us. Their knowledge and expertise has allowed us to deliver something of real value to Londoners. The next stage of this trial is to monitor and refine the system as people interact with it.”