The first 36 kilometers of Australia’s biggest public transport project, the newly-opened Sydney Metro Northwest line, are interspersed with stops that provide steadily updated schedule/status information on solar-powered e-paper screens.
Installed from Tallawong to Chatswood, 50 urban bus stops – the biggest deployment of these smart signs anywhere in the world – show interchange bus departure times at each metro station, connecting via 4G.
Each screen is waterproof and tamper-resistant, using two tiled 13-inch electronic paper screens. Because it is e-paper, the screens need no backlight during the day and use a front-light for uninterrupted visibility at night, powered by a solar cell.
The solar aspect of this achieves a few things:
- The stops are completely independent from the city’s electrical network;
- No trenching or power/networking cables needed, which is usually big $$$;
- They go in with a handful of nuts and bolts.
The signs are designed by Mercury Innovation and powered by the Slovenian firm Visionect, which with Mercury was already providing e-paper update screens to Sydney’s transport system, in what looks like a test around the downtown town hall.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.