Louisville’s Bus Routes Add GPS-Updated Rider Kiosks

February 9, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The LA-area digital signage solutions provider Red Dot Digital Media has an interesting technical case study out on a project done with Silicon Valley media player shop BrightSign for the Transit Authority of River City (TARC), a major public transportation provider in Louisville, KY.

The project saw a network of digital kiosks located at each of TARC’s 36 transit stations, along with branded buses and upgrades to things like informatics, fiber connections and traffic signals.

Says PR:

With buses continually feeding their GPS coordinates to the network, the kiosks display bus locations in real time, with accurate stop times based on bus location, route and speed. Red Dot’s involvement encompassed the station informatics, which included the design and development of a ‘next bus server’ application feeding location-agnostic endpoints translated to visual and spoken information to passengers waiting at the transit stations.

Red Dot came up with a system of endpoints with GPS dongles that worked with BrightSign media players to supply the local latitude and longitude coordinates of next bus stops. This unique implementation meant that locations and stops aren’t hard-coded into the device; instead, the bus stop times are determined by local GPS coordinates and the nearest stops. Arrival data is pulled from TARC’s Google GTFS schedule feed to supply arrival information to the endpoints in real time. An override mechanism was also developed to supersede the GPS dongle coordinates and assign a particular StopID to be utilized by the player. 

The kiosks display ‘next bus information’ for the next 10 arriving buses, with the top four displaying estimated arrival times, and a button tied to the BrightSign box enables audio prompts that use text-to-speech device, informing passengers about next bus arrival times. 

The kiosks also display important information about TARC Service Alerts and other information about potential disruptions. Content is displayed via a pair of informational tickers that pull Service Alert data from TARC’s Google real-time feed. One ticker displays stop-specific service alerts, and the other displays general TARC news alerts.

A large portion of each kiosk is dedicated to a rotating feed of informative content, including a complete route map, a detailed map of the local stop area with the locations of incoming buses, and a weather forecast to help alert passengers to incoming weather systems.  

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