The Benefits of Digital Signage for Transportation

Approximately 34 million people board public transportation every weekday in the United States, and transportation is an 80 billion-dollar industry.

With so many people taking advantage of public transportation, it is important for the transportation industry to remain innovative in ways to enhance the experience of people using transportation, as well as leveraging technology to increase the number of people using public transportation to generate more revenue.

One of the best tools that the transportation industry has at its disposal is the revolutionary technology of digital signage. In this article, we will talk about the most significant benefits that transportation can reap from utilizing digital signage so that both the revenue for transportation and the customer experience will increase.

What is Digital Signage?

Digital signage refers to the use of digital screens in conjunction with digital signage solutions, which typically include digital signage hardware, like digital signage media players, and digital signage software for content creation, content management, playlist curation, and scheduling.

The various types of screens you can use and the plethora of options for types of content that can be displayed are two of the main factors that make digital signage such a powerful and dynamic technology. Digital signage content can include images, text, videos, animations, social media feeds, interactive apps, wayfinding instructions, and so much more.

Additionally, the types of digital screens that can be used include consumer-grade televisions, commercial-grade screens, LED walls, tablets, interactive touch screens, digital signage kiosks, and even billboards.

As you can probably tell just from the description of digital signage, there is so much potential available when the transportation industry takes advantage of this technology. Next, we will be talking about these many benefits at length!

The Benefits of Transportation Digital Signage

1. Spread Brand Awareness

One of the biggest challenges for public transportation agencies is spreading awareness of services offered to the broader public. In many cities, there are many people who could make great use of public transportation and often benefit from typically lower prices than other methods of transportation but who do not know about all of the public transportation services offered in their city.

There are a number of advantages of using digital signage to spread brand awareness over traditional signs and posters. People are so used to seeing static traditional signs that many of them do not even register what is being advertised on these signs. On the other hand, digital signage can be significantly more eye-catching, as well as more visually pleasing.

Unlike traditional signs, you can use eye-catching images, text, videos, and animations to get people aware of your public transportation agency. Moreover, much of the advertising for public transport takes place on outdoor signs, and digital signs are far more visible in the dark than traditional signs.

Since many potential users of public transport are outside during the hours after the sun has gone down, this advantage is far too great to be ignored. Presenting the best possible brand image is particularly important for agencies in the public transportation industry. One hundred years ago, the United States had a public transportation system that was the envy of the world.

Today, outside a few major urban centers, public transportation is barely surviving. Even in New York City, subway ridership is well below its 1946 peak. Annual per capita transit trips in the U.S. plummeted from 115.8 in 1950 to 36.1 in 1970, where they have roughly remained since, even as the population has grown.

Part of the plummet is surely due to the rise in automobile ownership. Another causal factor is that in many cities in the United States, public transportation receives much less in funds than it did in the past, which is clear when adjusting comparisons with inflation in mind.

While these are certainly major factors, public transportation also faces a PR problems. Many people view public transportation negatively, and thus, far fewer people make use of public transportation infrastructure than would be the case if public transportation had a better image.

This is where digital signage comes in. One of the negative views of public transportation held by the public is that the public transportation systems in the U.S. are out of date and not modern. This perception is certainly not helped by the use of non-visually pleasing traditional signs.

You can think of digital signage as a makeover for the public image of public transportation in the United States. Digital signage looks far more modern than traditional signs, and in most cases, it is far more visually pleasing.

Thus, public transportation can benefit greatly from using digital signage to spread brand awareness and bolster its image.

2. Upgrade Transportation Timetables

One great way to modernize public transportation services, as well as improve the customer experience, is to shift from using static signs to display public transportation timetables to using digital signage to display real-time timetables. Using timetable digital signage is already in use in some cities in the U.S., and it is in use in many countries in Europe and Asia.

Just as airports use digital timetables to display the most recent information on flights, railway and bus transport agencies can use the same method for their services. Alternatives exist for spaces in which a full timetable may not be realistic or needed such as bus stops with little foot traffic.

Even in spaces like this, and certainly in spaces that receive more foot traffic, it can still be highly beneficial for public transportation to use digital signage to display information about the buses coming to the bus stop, as well as the calculated amount of time it is supposed to take before the bus gets there. The same can be done for metro and train stations.

Many people do not use public transportation because it simply feels too confusing and complicated. Using timetable digital signage is a great way to dispel this confusion and make the customer experience better by leaps and bounds.

3. Improve Rider Experience with Interactive Wayfinding Screens

There is no doubt that public transport, or transport of any kind, can often be terribly confusing, and thus, the transportation process is often unpleasant or stressful for people. Digital signage can help public transportation become much less opaque for people so that it can ever be a pleasant experience for people.

One of the best ways that digital signage can be utilized by public transportation for these purposes is to use digital signs to display wayfinding instructions. There are numerous ways that wayfinding instructions can be used, depending on the situation.

If the public transportation hub is large and receives much foot traffic, such as a busy train station or a major bus stop, then it is often the case that it can be difficult for people to find the correct place for them to go to wait for their transportation or even to find the right machine or help disk to pay the transportation fee.

Moreover, major transportation hubs often offer numerous amenities beyond those that are strictly transportation-focused. Some examples of these include restrooms, information centers, and restaurants. For some areas, simple wayfinding instructions, such as static digital signs with arrows can sufficiently serve wayfinding purposes.

However, many major transportation hubs around the world have realized that they can better serve their patrons with interactive wayfinding digital signage infrastructure, such as digital signage kiosks with touch screen interactive capability.

Such interactive digital signage kiosks will often have a list of businesses and important locations in the transportation hub, allowing patrons to select the location they are looking for and then displaying detailed instructions on how the patron can find the location in the building.

Upgrading wayfinding infrastructure is an incredible way to modernize transportation systems, ultimately benefiting both the transportation authorities and the patrons who can feel much less confusion and can use the transportation services far more effectively.

Another version of wayfinding digital signage would be to similarly use interactive digital screens, but instead of displaying information needed for navigating transportation hubs, these screens would be used for navigating the journey the patron is planning to take.

With different names for buses and trains, it can be highly confusing for many people unfamiliar with the transportation system in question to find out what transportation routes and vehicles they need to take to reach their destination. With interactive digital signage wayfinding, customers can select their destination with a touchscreen, and the digital signage can display the different routes they can take to reach their destination, along with the prices involved.

In this way, customers can get their bearings much easier and minimize confusion, which will ultimately result in a more efficient and advantageous public transport system.

4. Easily Display Important Information

There is often important information that people who utilize public transportation should know before boarding the transportation vehicle. These can include safety regulations, directions for courses of action if people need help, how to pay for the public transportation service they plan to use, smoking areas or regulations, and much more.

Often transportation hubs will display this kind of information with traditional signs. As we have discussed before, traditional signs simply do not catch the attention of the people who are meant to see them. Digital signage is far more effective when it comes to conveying information in a more attention-grabbing and comprehensible manner.

It can only be assumed that if there are specific regulations that transportation users should know, then transportation authorities and managers do in fact want these people to take note of and understand this essential information. Traditional signs simply are not up for the job, and therefore, there is often confusion when it comes to the important information required.

Digital signage is a far superior option for conveying information that is meant to be–and important to be–viewed by large numbers of people.

5. Optimize Promotion Broadcasting

Services available to the public need to advertise no less than private enterprises need to advertise. This could include advertisements on television or the radio, as well as web advertisements, but to limit advertising for public transportation to these channels would be to miss out on large opportunities for advertising with digital signs.

With digital signage, transportation services can advertise their services with text, images, animations, and more, making them highly visible, eye-catching, and visually pleasing. These can include advertisements for promotions at bus stops to advertisements for the transportation service as a whole on large signs such as billboards.

The dynamic potential of digital signage far surpasses that of traditional signage, and thus, it is a far more effective medium for self-promotion than traditional signs.

6. Increase Revenue with Advertisements

A great source of revenue for public transportation agencies is by utilizing their space to highlight advertisements from other businesses. Since so many people use public transportation each day, advertisements in both transportation hubs and the transportation vehicles themselves are highly sought after by many companies.

When it comes to selling advertising space, digital signage is far more lucrative because of many of the eye-catching and visually pleasing properties that we have discussed throughout this article.

Additionally, digital signage allows transportation agencies to show more advertisements than traditional signs or posters since advertisements can circulate throughout a digital signage playlist. Finally, it is much easier to change advertisements when contracts run up because instead of printing and installing new signs, you can simply change the digital signage playlist from a computer.

Optimizing Transportation with Digital Signage

Businesses, companies, and agencies from all sectors are finding the revolutionary benefits of integrating digital signage systems into their infrastructure, and public transport is certainly one of the industries that can benefit most from digital signage.

With digital signage, public transport can present a new image of itself to citizens, spread brand awareness, and greatly increase the customer experience.