At each bus stop, digital signage will provide information on the bus routes that stop at this location, when the bus will arrive (wait time), and final destination. Buses rarely are exactly on time. Sometimes they are a minute ahead of schedule and people just get to the bus stop and see the bus go by. Other times, especially when the weather is bad, the bus can be late. Buses also get behind schedule during bad weather, or even are taken off the route when, for instance, the snow has not been plowed yet. With the real-time information, bus riders can know when (or if) the bus will arrive. Information would be sent back to the local hub with the bus' location and calculated and either sent out to a sign or a telephone can be picked up and dialed with the real-time information. Passengers can also use their cell phones, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDA) or online email to get alerts from the bus terminal and RSS feeds with customized updates regarding any time delays.
At designated places (need to be secure from weather, vandalism, etc.) kiosks can provide a wide variety of information for the bus traveler. The display panel can include all the bus route information including any landmarks. When touching the LCD screen, customers can access bus route information. A map of the bus route will show where the bus stop is in relation to origin and destination with any points of interest along the way. In addition, the kiosk will hold print maps that riders can take with them. Depending on how payment is made on the busses (token or cash), a vending machine and/or change machine will be available, as will be an ATM.
The town will have to decide whether or not to include sound. This is helpful for those who cannot read the information and for those who acquire information better through sound vs. vision. However, the question is if this will add too much "sound pollution" to the area. Also, other disabilities need to be considered (e.g., use of brail, height of sign).
Inside the bus (if it is different from that being shown outside) is a whole captured audience that can view news items, weather, community events, health updates and infomercials. These, like the signs outside of the bus, can be changed depending on the demographics of the riders. These screens are attention-getting and retaining and bright and can give advertisers the opportunity to reach its target audience by zip code, demography, time and ethnic group. On the way to work, passengers can see a McDonald's breakfast ad and on the way home, a commercial for KFC.
These signs, however, will only be as effective as their design, especially those that need to advertise a product or service. According to the Small Business Association, effective signage needs to create a memory for where the products or services are located, strengthen a memory and further recall other marketing efforts, entice new customers and alter traditional buying habits. As with any sales materials, these signs have to communicate the essentials in order to make the sale. This means, as when designing any marketing products, it is necessary to know the audience for the ad and their needs and the strong points about the products or services. How do they differ from others? However, it has to be kept short and either informative or fun to maintain attention. Otherwise the signs are ignored and the potential customers are lost.
American Public Transportation Association. Public Transit Ridership Surges as Gas Prices Decline -- Highest Quarterly Transit Ridership Increase in 25 years. Retrieved February 24, 2009 http://www.apta.com/media/releases/081208_ridership_surges.cfm
Outdoor Advertising Association of America. "Your Client Been Seeing Riding the Bus. Retrieved February 24, 2009. http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/publish/Out_of_Home_19/Your_client_being_seen_riding_the_bus.asp
Small Business Association. Welcome to Signage for Your Business. Retrieved February 24, 2009. http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/pickalocation/signage/index.html