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Signage Underground

(February 2017) posted on Wed Feb 08, 2017

A digital concierge demystifies subway transit travels in New York City


By Louis M. Brill

click an image below to view slideshow

In an effort to bring the New York City subway system into the 21st century, Intersection (New York City), a municipal media company, designed, developed and deployed a touch-screen-sensitive LCD-based kiosk, created as a subway navigation system for the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). In a public/private collaboration, Intersection’s wayfinding kiosks, known as On-The-Go, were given to the MTA at no cost with the intent that a return on investment would come from kiosk advertisements that accompany the displays.

Getting around New York City via subway is quite a challenge, with more than 665 miles of track serviced by 472 subway stations. Previously, navigating the subways had been done with paper maps and paper service alerts or by asking on-site transit officials the best way of getting from here to there by subway. More recently, travelers have been guided by smart-phone apps.



Finding On-The-Go kiosks
Intersection’s On-The-Go digital information kiosk is essentially an enhanced customer service inter-active media. The kiosks are encased in a stainless steel shell that’s 78 in. tall, 31 in. wide and 11 in. deep. The system employs FHD Samsung screens, some at 47 in., others at 55 in. All screens are portrait-formatted at 1080 x 1920 pixels. The touch-screens operate with projected capacitive touch layers. Each unit also includes stereo microphones, HD cameras, speakers and the ability to connect additional peripherals via USB. Currently, there are 185 kiosks deployed within 42 MTA subway stations throughout the city. Kiosk deployment is divided with roughly half the units installed along the subway platforms and the other half in paid mezzanine areas and unpaid entrance areas.

The kiosks are designed and manufactured to withstand the harsh transit environment, housed in stainless steel, graffiti-resistant and easy to clean. “Each kiosk is secured with a cyberlock,” said Damian Gutierrez, Intersection’s Strategy Lead, “and includes various monitoring systems including ‘door ajar’ and vibration sensors. Beyond a robust, rugged design, we’ve noticed very little vandal-ism take place, which contributes to our theory that folks will take care of public infrastructure they view as beneficial or useful.”


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