On The Go Travel Station Kiosks are showing up in stations all over the New York subway system these days.
The colorful displays put service information at the customers’ fingertips but the program is also serving to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of a public-private partnership.
MTA New York City Transit has begun the next phase of its popular and award winning On The Go Travel Station kiosk program, expanding the digital screen network’s footprint across the subway system.
This is a continuation of a successful public-private partnership with OUTFRONT Media Inc. and Intersection. The collaboration has seen the installation of 169 units at 31 stations with an average weekday ridership of 1.55 million customers.
The primary goal of this phase – to add an additional 180 interactive digital screen kiosks – is the technology’s introduction to more riders in parts of the system that have not been exposed to the digital information and wayfinding system. A secondary but equally important goal for NYC Transit’s private partners is to site the units in stations that will continue to attract quality brands to advertise on the platform.
“The On The Go network has proved a popular resource for subway riders, providing them with information they need at the point of transit decision making,” says Paul Fleuranges, NYC Transit’s vice-president of corporate communications. “Putting bus and subway arrival information, itinerary planning, elevator and escalator information and other transit tools at rider’s fingertips is a key component of our Omni-channel communications strategy.”
Installation work began in April following the identification of potential stations and actual kiosk locations by both OUTFRONT and Intersection in collaboration with NYC Transit. Once locations were chosen, station specific surveys were conducted with an interdisciplinary group from NYC Transit responsible for communications, installation, maintenance, station environment, network connectivity and security.
After agreement was reached on station specific kiosk locations, drawings were produced for In-house Capital Construction forces who perform the actual heavy-duty lifting and installation work and Electrical Maintenance crews that handle final connectivity and maintain the kiosk network.
“The process may seem unnecessary or overly bureaucratic to the outside observer,” says Robert Keenan, chief of advertising and digital media at NYC Transit. “But when you have a 100-plus year old network that’s a combination of three separately constructed systems, we need to ensure everyone knows not only what new equipment has been installed and where, but what its connected to.”
With the number of underground stations that are WiFi equipped increasing, another goal of this phase is the integration of the digital signage network with mobile and proximity technologies to provide customers the ability to take what they see on the screens, whether that’s an engaging ad or service information, with them on their devices.
“Digital signage, when paired with mobile and specifically location data, has the ability to amplify campaigns and provide brands with the ability to reach consumers on the go – so called transumers – with the right message at the right time along the path to purchase,” says Fleuranges, who is also a Board Member of the Digital Signage Federation. “We hope to leverage that engagement around our travel and service information to transform the customer experience throughout our system.”
Experimenting with different forms of content and leveraging other communication channels is also something Fleuranges and his team have high on their agenda. Working with Intersection, they’ve successfully incorporated their @NYCTSubway and @NYCTBus Twitter feeds into the content loop on the On The Go Kiosks, along with other sister MTA agency feeds.
Transit is also increasing the use of interactivity in the content it displays on the screens. As part of efforts to educate customers about a pending tunnel shutdown for post Superstorm Sandy repairs, it deployed an interactive piece of content complete with photos and informative text. Also on tap are plans to test wayfinding software that will provide turn-by-turn directions from a given kiosk within a station to nearby street side attractions.
At the end of this expansion phase, NYC Transit will have more than 350 On The Go Travel Station kiosks in its Nielsen-rated place-based network at more than 70 subway stations with a combined average weekday ridership of 2.27 million customers.