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About: Marty Hilber

Recent Posts by Marty Hilber

Automatic Bus Location Announcement System – What You Need to Know

Automatic bus location announcement systems are a type of automatic vehicle location technology, now being widely used and applied in the transit industry as a means to track and monitor vehicles and fleets as they work the field. They are used in conjunction with other advanced technologies that all work together to create smarter passenger and transit systems. Automatic vehicle location systems along with automated passenger counters, transit displays, and passenger information systems are only some of the most widely used technologies that make up advanced transit information, communication, and data collection systems nowadays—and you can count on Transign to provide all these technologies and more.

One of the major uses for automatic bus location systems, besides monitoring vehicle locations, is initiating location-relevant voice announcements for passengers. With an integrated voice announcement system, an automated bus location system enables the relay of location-specific and relevant information such as announcements for current and/or next stops, alerts on approaching stops, or warnings on anticipated delays due to the current state of traffic.

An automatic vehicle location system typically consists of two parts, including an on-board GPS system that tracks the vehicle’s real-time location, and a software program displaying that particular vehicle’s location on a map. Like most GPS-powered systems, AVLs (automatic vehicle location systems) are usually accurate up to 30 feet of the vehicle’s location, a range that is adequate enough for monitoring transit routes and deploying on-board voice announcements, among many other applications. A modern voice announcement system can be extremely useful in different kinds of public transit applications, from buses to trains, trams, subway systems, and other such mass transit fleets.

Ideal for transit supervision, automatic vehicle location systems have effectively changed the way that transit agencies manage their operations. Before these kinds of technologies, transit operators had limited control and visibility over their fleets and unless their drivers alert them about incidents, they have no way of knowing when troubles and disruptions are occurring. Automatic vehicle location systems enable transit operators better means of monitoring fleets, therefore enabling them to respond better to situations.

 Just the same, one of the best applications for automatic vehicle location systems is the integration of automatic announcement systems, which enable operators to dispatch both internal and external announcements during transit and at every stop—something that the ADA requires so that passengers with disabilities can better be served by public transport. Audio announcements and visual displays are crucial for aiding passengers with disabilities in making use of the public transport system more safely and efficiently. 

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How Automatic Passenger Counting Systems Can Simplify Public Transportation

An automatic passenger counter system is a type of electronic device designed to count the number of passengers boarding and disembarking at each stop. Together with modern passenger information system solutions, these tools are crucial technologies that every transportation agency should invest in. If you are still relying on manual (and often inaccurate) methods of generating passenger data, it is time to switch to more reliable and less tedious means of collecting important passenger statistics, which will ultimately help to improve your services. Talk to Transign today to explore your options.

Transit networks with an integrated passenger information system are able to eliminate the need for schedule checkers that used to collect rider information manually—a far less reliable approach for collecting accurate rider information, especially since manual tracking is very limited in its capacity to actually provide a real view of transit ridership. With an automatic passenger counter, every single person that goes on-board and alights a public transit vehicle at every possible stop of a transit route can be monitored and recorded, which not only simplifies data collection, but enables far greater accuracy and scope for generating database reports on ridership information.

In addition to simplifying data collection, another main advantage of automated passenger information and counting systems is reduced cost, although some may find initial start-up to be high. Long-term benefits, however, more than justify the investment especially when you think about the savings you will get out of eliminating the need to hire more employees in order to manually collect information to the same extent as these systems can.

Exactly how do passenger counting systems work? Most devices are designed with two sets of sensors (one pair each), installed at the same height or level of the front and rear doors of a transit vehicle. When passengers pass through entrance or exit doors, they break the infrared beam that the sensors emit, causing the device to record the activity (either boarding or alighting), determined by the order in which the beams were broken. Automatic passenger counters are great for providing gross ridership levels, but stop-level ridership can likewise be determined with the help of automated vehicle locators and GPS systems that allow for location-specific data collection. When transit agencies are able to collect accurate ridership information, they are able to adjust routes accordingly and serve areas with the greatest ridership more frequently or dispatch more fleet to serve the same areas, hence providing better service quality for passengers.

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How GPS Tracking Can Help Improve Public Transportation

Public transportation remains an essential service that people rely on to get them from one point to another. In fact, it is the top choice of millions for transportation because of the freedom and flexibility that it offers. It is the more economical and eco-friendly choice to other alternatives. Public transit has gone through all kinds of transformations over the years, especially with the introduction of newer and more advanced technologies. One of the greatest innovations that has impacted both the public transit and private sector is the use of GPS systems to track the exact positioning and location of vehicles. From transit GPS devices came many other innovations that are now revolutionizing public transportation, ranging from GPS sign networks to passenger information systems, all working together to enhance passenger services.

Transit GPS devices come with many exciting and practical features that are extremely useful in managing transportation fleets. Listed below are only some of the ways that GPS tracking and GPS sign systems prove useful in public transportation:

  • With GPS tracking devices, fleet managers can use live map tracking to monitor where each vehicle is at an exact moment in time, allowing them to check whether trips are on schedule or if delays can be expected. The ability to view the real-time location of each unit in the fleet allows for more efficient management of routes and route schedules and helps keep passengers in the loop of potential delays in their trips.
  • Real time alerts from transit GPS systems also help ensure passenger safety through features like geo-fencing, which sends automatic alerts and notifications should a bus deviate from the assigned route. GPS tracker devices can even alert operators and managers when drivers are traveling above the speed limit.
  • Finally, GPS tracking systems are useful in keeping fleet records, including data on past activities, which can be useful when investigating issues or when evaluating and analyzing the performance of the entire fleet or a particular unit or driver. GPS tracker systems are a great end to end tools that help in the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of transit operations. 

Transign is the absolute authority when it comes to passenger information systems and innovative signage products and solutions. The company has played a major role in the evolution of transit signs, from classic bus curtain signs to more cutting edge LED powered signs, that modern fleets use today. This only proves Transign’s commitment to continuous innovation in the transit signage industry.

 

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Benefits of Automatic Passenger Counting Systems for Public Transit

Today’s fast paced world of technology is pushing the boundaries of traditional information systems in almost every industry, including the transportation sector. Transit companies today rely on passenger information systems that provide real-time information on the status and service of their fleet. A fully deployed passenger information system is a practical addition to any mass transit operation because it provides a wealth of data that benefits not only the traveling passengers, but also the transit agency’s planners, managers, supervisors, and operators. The information that these systems offer is extremely useful in creating a safer, more efficient, streamlined transit operation that benefits everyone.

A robust passenger information system can provide a valuable archive of data on passenger count, vehicle locations, and other such information, which can help agencies to evaluate different functions and operational elements, including customer complaints and pain points, which can be instrumental during operations planning. Automated information systems are so much more than a passenger counter tool that gauges the number of passengers that use transit facilities. These systems offer many other advantages and uses such as:

  • Significant budget savings thanks to enhanced service and operational efficiency, resulting in the proper utilization of resources. Passenger information systems allow agencies to analyze data, all the way down to the individual passenger level, allowing them to determine which route segments and stops are being underutilized or underserved. This enables them to reorganize route systems and maximize the use of each vehicle, route, etc.
  • Another major benefit of automated passenger counter systems include enhancing overall transit planning efficiency, taking into account more accurate traffic patterns, time tables, routes, and other critical details that impact transit quality.
  • With automated passenger information systems, agencies and transit companies are also better able to address the most pressing passenger complaints. These systems allow companies to discern between valid concerns and complaints that are simply the result of passenger error. As a result, transportation companies are able to sort through invalid complaints and focus on real problems, bringing forth greater reliability in the transport system.
  • Automated information systems also offer the benefit of fast, real-time response to accidents and incidents, which can often mean the difference between life and death. They help transit agencies respond more quickly and efficiently to all kinds of threats, be it an emergency incident, an assault, a hijacking, and other such dangers.

 

Transign has been a constant innovator in the transit industry, providing clients with the highest quality products, cutting edge technologies, and signage/information systems for 60 years.

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How Passengers Depend on Their Real Time Smart Apps for Communication of Transit Bus Routes

Public transit systems operate on a sharing basis, thus benefiting the general public. Unlike other group transportation modes like carpooling or taxis, passengers have to share rides with complete strangers and follow strict schedules, all while adhering to specific transit routes. This is a small price to pay however, for the convenience, accessibility, economic, and environmentally friendly attributes of choosing public transit over more private means of transportation. Fortunately, new technologies are now available to make riding public transportation easier and a lot more manageable for passengers. The Internet has revolutionized the way that transit agencies and passengers are using technology, GPS sign applications, and transit GPS to make public transportation even better.

Advancements in transit GPS technology are making strides in better integrating communication and information processing and control in various transportation systems. In the past, the lack of real-time information was truly a major challenge for the public transportation sector. Today however, improvements are very much evident in the way that technology is being used, not only to deliver, but also to act upon real time information that passengers and transit operators receive through modern devices. For instance, modern transit information systems can provide real-time alerts on transit routes and schedules through on-board alert systems that make it easier for passengers to keep track of their estimated time of arrival or make adjustments due to possible delays.

The ability of newer passenger and transit information systems and applications’ to provide real-time information also allows passengers to find alternate choices and make quick decisions about their travels, depending on their situation. This prevents a great deal of confusion and frustration in case of unexpected changes in schedules, re-routing, or canceled trips. Providing real-time information about bus arrivals and departures also encourages increased ridership because passengers are more likely to take the bus when they know exactly when they can get on-board or what the crowd level is like inside the vehicle.

Transign continues to provide the newest and smartest transit information solutions to help clients provide the highest level of service to passengers and public transportation users. From GPS Sign products to transit GPS solutions, the company advocates the adoption and use of new technology to ensure real-time updates, detour alerts, on-time, late, and early notifications, re-routing notices, and two-way messaging capabilities for transit operators.

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The Importance of Safety and Security in Public Transportation Systems

Public transportation can pose high safety and security risks because of the massive reach and public nature of their service. Not only do transit companies have to ensure the safety of multiple passengers in a single vehicle—they also have to ensure the wellbeing of the travelers using their facilities, ranging from bus stops to transit stations and wait stops. This is why public information systems, voice announcements, and bus signs play such huge roles in keeping the public safe. Today, modern transit planning platforms are changing the way that the public transportation system works, as well as the level of safety that transportation agencies and operators can provide passengers.

For instance, bus signs can now be integrated with a smarter system that allows transit operators to display relevant information on both interior and exterior signs based on the vehicle’s location and other related factors. The only thing that drivers will have to worry about is attending to their on-board passengers and paying attention to the road and designated stops. These kinds of modern systems are beneficial in improving services as well as enhancing communication, all while increasing safety for passengers. This can likewise increase ridership, which will ultimately result in maximum revenue for the company.

Additional technologies that enable voice announcements and even more advanced visual communications are also ideal as they help make fresh information and updates more readily available for passengers. For instance, public announcement systems can be used to broadcast general warnings and safety precautions to passengers, whether on-board transportation or inside a transit station. These devices can be used to alert people about security concerns that may arise at any moment during their transit. Having these kinds of devices makes it easier to disseminate information and keep passengers alerted to any possible threats to their safety, while providing them with useful reminders when using public transit. On-board screens are also useful tools for displaying safety warnings and precautions, helping to keep passengers safe and informing them of standard procedures in case of an emergency.  

Transign is an authority when it comes to modern passenger information systems, ranging from simple bus signs to more advanced passenger and transit industry solutions that enable voice announcements, emergency alerts, status alerts and delay warnings, safe zones, and on-board communications through audio and visual messaging.

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5 Ways the Transportation Industry Should Be Using Digital Signage

Digital signage provides plenty of great uses in the transportation industry and is no longer just about way-finding and scheduling solutions. Today, LED bus destinations displays and other forms of digital signs found outdoors—particularly in transit depots, pedestrian areas, and even onboard public transportation vehicles (for example, the ubiquitous bus destination sign) are extremely useful for all kinds of public information. Established transit sign companies like Transign have witnessed great developments in the role of digital signage displays within the transportation industry. They supply various products in the form of passenger information systems and other types of transit signs to transportation companies and public transit operators.

Beyond their typical use as informational displays, LED signs can be utilized in the transportation industry in many creative ways. No longer are LED bus destination displays only used for destination information. Gone are the days when a bus destination sign was mechanically cranked to tell where the next stop would be. Below are some great digital signage usage scenarios that show how these innovative technologies can be integrated on board public transportation, in waiting areas and beyond:

  • As in-transit communication – Digital screens are increasingly being displayed inside public transportation vehicles, taking transit communication beyond static environments like terminals and airports. There are many buses, trains, cars, taxis, trams, and planes that use digital displays and LED screens, not only as in-transit communication devices but also as entertainment systems and perhaps most commonly, as marketing tools.
  • As waiting area displays – Digital displays take poster marketing and other static display tactics to the next level by creating a more dynamic medium to present information and deliver messages. Rich media content is what modern audiences are looking for, especially in this day and age of smartphones and app-enabled mobile devices.
  • As branding tools – Transit hubs are among the best places to launch branding campaigns because of the wide reach they offer. Today, digital signage displays are being used not only to inform commuters about transit but also to promote brands and messages through dynamic content.
  • As news feed displays – Traditional transit depot displays typically show arrival times and trip schedules. Now, with more versatile digital screens, it is possible to broadcast more information than ever—including up-to-the minute transportation news, delays, cancellations, emergencies, and other things that commuters and travelers should be aware of.
  • As travel experience optimizers –Digital signage displays in the transportation industry can also help optimize the travel experience by enabling interactive installations and programs that help people travel from point A to point B more conveniently.
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Top 3 Reasons Digital Bus Signage Has Been Successful for Over 40 Years

Not all people are blessed with an impeccable sense of direction, and not everyone is well versed in local commute routes. Even the most basic transportation sign can be a lifesaver to a confused traveler. This is why through the years, transit signage, bus destination sign generator, and all other forms of transportation signs remain relevant tools of communication in the transit industry. With more than 5 decades of service in the industry, Transign is concrete proof of the success of digital bus signs and passenger information systems. An established leader of innovative products in the transit signage market, Transign has seen transportation sign trends come and go, and has witnessed the continued success of these communication tools in the transit industry. Below are the top 3 reasons why digital bus signs are such crucial tools of communication in transportation:

  • They offer accurate and timely information delivery. Digital transit signs have come a long way since rolling curtain signs and static bus destination displays, or even the bus destination sign generator. Today, digital technology makes it possible for transit signs to display accurate and up-to-date information, allowing people to view the real-time status of their train or bus schedule. During transit, digital signs can also be implemented to display almost any kind of information you want passengers, travelers, and commuters to know about.
  • Today, a transit sign is so much more than a wayfinding device. Thanks to new technology, digital displays can now spread more information than ever. Another reason why digital transportation signs have been such a success over the years is because of technological integration, which now allows timely, up-to-date, and dynamic means of displaying information. This also opens up more opportunities to maximize investment on signage hardware by making use of digital transit signs as marketing channels.
  • Finally, transit signs ultimately offer easier means of travel, thanks to the amount of information they contain. In the advent of interactive display solutions, transportation signs are even more capable of enhancing people’s travel experiences by helping them find the information they need in the most convenient manner. Digital bus and transit signs offer extreme transit versatility and convenience for travelers.
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Enhancing the Transit Customer Experience with Digital Signage

At the heart of public transportation, whether in a city you are unfamiliar with or at home, is the ever-evolving passenger information signage and network. For years, the only source of directional information available to travelers were static signboards, which provided only the smallest amount of information related to route and destination, and could not be easily changed.

Today, the advent of enhanced, digital signage not only serves the purpose of making navigation easier for the rider, these updated and efficient signs have mastered the art of providing live, up to the minute information. Technology as it relates to transit, now offers a broad array of relevant information whether onboard, awaiting the arrival and approach, or planning a trip through cell phone apps, which encompasses full route and accurate timing for the passenger.

Interior signs go well beyond providing, for example, “next stop” information, these displays now provide passengers with an array of additional, relevant data to assist them on their journey.

With so many innovations, many city buses have LED monitors displaying advertising content, and entertaining medium, which never fails to captivate the passenger. Transit signs today aid the transportation industry and the millions of customers who commute through multiple modes of transportation on a daily basis.

Destination signs can display the time of arrival at the next station, weather forecasts, merchant locations nearby the destination and even emergency warnings. Signs assist and guide riders through their entire trip, whether via static signs at bus stops, stations and ports, or onboard the passenger vehicle itself.

Transit agencies that chose to install LED displays for passenger entertainment and advertising purposes get the benefit of creatively and attractively displaying content, and have the added advantage of easy installation and on the fly programming.

Traveling by public transportation has never been easier through the deployment of advanced technologies developed in the past few years. Bus agencies, utilizing GPS and cellular connections can connect passengers with real time data, providing traffic information about the route end-to-end. A very notable benefit is with all this information, either displayed or available through cell devices, communication with the driver is greatly reduced, thus allowing the driver to concentrate on the road.

Highly affordable, adaptable and versatile, these signs are an essential tool for Transit agencies to increase ridership and revenue. Adding elegance to any mode of transportation, these signs provide arrival and departure times, entertainment, emergency alerts and advertisements, all on strategically placed screens throughout the vehicle.

As technology evolves, a considerable amount of importance is placed on making transit more of a self-help experience, which is only possible because of the game changing data that these interactive gateways of communication provide.

With an unlimited range of tailored messaging, perfectly suited to the surrounding environment, these eye-catching transit signs have become an integral and fundamental part of public transportation.

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Different Types of Transit Signs Used for Commercial Purposes

Transit signs are generally used for navigation—a process that allows people to effectively determine their location and destination, thus allowing them to develop an intelligent plan to go from one point to the other. Navigation signs, therefore, should be, and are, an integral part of any transit system, in the form of destination road signs, bus destination blinds, onboard LED signage, interior and exterior, or any other form of transit signage. Below are some of the most common forms of transit signs used for commercial purposes today:

  • Overhead signs – Overhead signage in transit stations is typically reserved for essential information that guides passengers to their destination. The messages that these transit signs carry are typically essential information about their destination or the transit operators serving the transit station. They also provide other important details like street names, major buildings, landmarks, parking directions, or other transit options at different decision points like the station entries and exits, fare gates, etc.
  • Flag and wall mounted transit signs – Transit stations also require these types of signs for facility identification and regulatory reminders, as well as other informational directions that let people know how to find their way around the station, how they should use the facilities, amenities, or other provisions within the transit station.

Different signage types can also be identified through the purpose they serve. Transit signs, such as bus destination blinds, LED destination signs mounted on front, back and side, as well as the interior can be found on-board transit vehicles, used to inform passengers about essential trip details. They are also seen on the road, in the form of destination road signs, that help people keep track of the time getting to their destination.

In addition to transit station information and directional signs, there are many other forms of transit related signage that can be helpful to passengers, like informational signs that display train schedules, fare rates, and station maps that include accessible routes to key areas of a transit station or platform. As information is absolutely necessary to our everyday activities, signage plays a critical role, including instructions on the use of ticket vending machines, change machines, add fare machines, parking validation machines, as well as station agent assistance devices. Visual message boards are also commonly used to display real time destination information and transit schedules on concourse and platform levels of transit stations. These types of informational signs are a standard requirement in these types of public platforms in order to ensure proper identification of transit routes and schedules, and are an efficient integration of transit information for the benefit of passengers, travelers and transit staff, alike.

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