Info in the right place at the right time

Sydney bus stops get real-time info with e-paper display technology

Transport for NSW has begun a trial of digital bus stop displays – replacing traditional paper timetables – with new units installed at Town Hall on Park Street, Stand K and the QVB on York Street, Stand B. The so-called “eStops” feature passenger information displays developed on energy-saving e-paper technology – the same technology that powers e-book readers like the Kindle.

The displays show up-to-the-minute bus arrival times and capacity information, similar to real-time apps, as well as customised information on planned and unplanned disruptions to the bus network, to increase the service experience for passengers and provide an effective management system for the city. The upgrade allows Transport for NSW to communicate, over the cellular network, critical notifications at the right moment, ensuring accurate information is delivered at the point of action, no matter the passengers’ location. They also run entirely on solar power, making them accessible to even the most remote of areas.

eStop at Town Hall on Park Street, Stand K, Sydney
eStop at Town Hall on Park Street, Stand K, Sydney

“This is a game changer for bus customers… making everyday commuters and tourists’ lives easier,” Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast said. “This technology allows us to be in constant contact with the customer, ensuring they have up to the minute information to plan ahead and keep moving and it’s great to see Sydney is leading the way in Australia with the first customer-facing trial.

“Once the technology has been properly tested and we have heard what our customers think, we will look to roll more units out across the network.”

European company Visionect, which has designed and manufactured the displays in partnership with Australian engineering company Mercury Innovation, says the eStops can also “provide crucial emergency information to not only the bus ridership, but Sydneyites in general, displaying notifications even during blackouts, when other digital displays fail.”

E-paper traffic sign developed by Visionect and Mercury Innovation
E-paper traffic sign developed by Visionect and Mercury Innovation (Source)

This project is the second collaboration between the two companies. In 2013, they began to install solar-powered e-paper traffic signs (above) on some of the busiest roads in Sydney. Visionect says these are a world first and have been running without failure ever since.

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