Signs On London Black Cabs Enlisted To Warn Motorists Of Clogged Roads


Transport for London (TfL), the public body that governs and runs the surface and mass transport networks in the UK capital, has started testing an intriguing mash-up of fairly old school digital OOH technology with real time data, in an effort to help motorists avoid overly clogged roads.

Targeted messages run on GPS-enabled LED boards stuck on the tops of some 200 London black cabs. Those messages will inform road users of traffic levels at 40 to 50 areas where there are known traffic delays. In the future, says TfL, the technology could be used to provide real-time updates on incidents across London’s road network.

“This trial is an innovative new way to reach road users in London and keep them informed of traffic conditions,” says Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport. “Using the Capital’s fleet of taxis to get real-time traffic information out will inform other drivers of any disruption on the network, helping them to avoid the most congested routes. It is one of many ways we are focusing our attention on keeping London moving, particularly during the current success-driven boom in construction seen across London.”

“Broadcasting congestion information to Londoners on iconic black taxis highlights the unique technological and programming capabilities our software possesses,” says Jamie Lindsay, BrightMove Media’s Chief Executive. “This trial will keep Londoners up to date with live traffic conditions and events in the Capital – exactly the kind of information that they need. We are delighted to be partnering with TfL in delivering this scheme.’

TfL is also using roadside digital signs on key corridors to keep drivers aware of traffic conditions, allowing them to take alternative routes to avoid disruption.

The LEDs are a little limited in what they can convey, but it’s still an interesting take on things. As digital largely takes over from print posters in streets, you could imagine how this kinds of messaging could also appear on street furniture, like bus shelters.

Of course, TfL would have to do the media buy, or make some other arrangements to be on screens that are supposed to be sold media space run by for-profit media companies.

Hat tip to Sean Levy of MediaSignage for flagging this story for me.

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes


12+ year-old blog and podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by industry consultant, analyst & bullshit filter Dave Haynes.
I continue to be somewhat bewildered as to why #DOOH companies/orgs genuinely need to be there … it’s not like the… - 1 hour ago
Dave Haynes