London’s transport authority has started testing real-time electronic paper bus stops – solar-powered displays that can connect in to data that reflects cloud-predicted arrival times.
The first unit is at a stop at Waterloo Bridge, and three more e-paper bus stops are due to be installed in January at Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus and Sloane Square. London has 19,500 stops across 700 bus routes, so there is a ways to go if this trial proves successful. Should it expand, that will be a big day around the offices of Technoframe, which designed the units, and Slovenia’s Visionect, which supplies the E Ink displays.
There are several reasons to test the e-paper bus stops. The displays are visible in all light conditions and require no energy to retain the image that’s currently displayed. Buttons at the bottom of the screen allow the user to switch between the content displayed, choosing between real-time arrival information, route maps and important service notifications.
The potential energy saving is massive when compared to using conventional digital displays, and there is no carbon footprint involved in motorbikes or trucks rumbling around the city changing out printed schedules. The schedules are updated through the cloud, using M2M cellular networking.
Cool stuff. The only other transport system testing such displays is in Ljubljana, Slovenia – home base for Visionect. I suspect we will see much more of this.