Toronto Commuter Transport Network Expanding Use Of Real-Time Digital Signage Across Hubs
November 2, 2021 by Dave Haynes
People who need to regularly get around and across the Toronto area will be familiar with that busy city’s mass transport system, which involves commuter rail and buses and hooks in, where it can, with the city’s subway system. There has been digital signage for years inside stations, but now Metrolinx, the umbrella organization that runs mass transport in the region, is adding outside screens that relay real-time bus and track information.
The upgrades are part of a big ongoing expansion of GO Transit that ranges from the relatively simple – like screens – to very expensive and involved items like bridges and tunnels and electrifying some 600 km of track (the trains use diesel right now).
Many preparatory projects are well underway across Metrolinx’s corridors to get ready for GO Expansion. At the same time, gradual upgrades to numerous stations across the GO network via the Early Station Improvements (ESI) programme have been underway since the summer of 2019. These station facelifts are not as big in scope, but as more passengers get back to using GO services, they will be greeted with improved amenities that will make it easier and more convenient to use.
Amir Salamat, Metrolinx’s Project Manager of Stations Capital Delivery has been one of those leading the ESI programme: “We have been working really hard to improve accessibility and the overall customer experience at 29 stations across the GO network. They will receive a combination of upgrades that will bring the amenities in line with our latest standards. Despite lower ridership numbers over the past two years or so, we have been delivering these upgrades while maintaining full operation of every station and navigating customer flow at all times.
Upgraded bus and train platforms will greet GO customers with new departure digital signage showing the next train and bus information. The new screens will be updated in real time, so customers won’t even have to pull out their phone to check the schedule anymore.
This is a project that’s been going on forever, which I suppose is how things work with government-funded and run bodies that have to work across multiple authorities. I had meetings and calls with these guys about consulting on the screen and software part of the project almost four years ago. Happy to see things happening now!
From my travels and years of reading industry news and PR, I sense this is common stuff in parts of the world like Europe and the deep-pocketed parts of the Middle East, but much less so in Canada and the U.S.