Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Train Passenger Density Information Boards

Are next arrival time information boards on train or subway docks really that useful? They're interesting at ticket booths or in other areas where alternate activities like buying a newspaper and chocolate bar can be done in the spare time you have until your train arrives, but by the time you're on the dock waiting they provide nothing more than the comfort that the train will arrive at some time or another.

Barcelona, Spain-based 4-id Creative Network came up with a neat concept for subway platform boards that display intelligent passenger density information. With the screens that they dub "Comfort Zone Displays", the idea is not just to show when the next commuter train is arriving but also how full it will be.

With this type of information people can choose where to stand on the platform and what carriage to board depending on their needs. Infographics show users the amount of people that are on each train cart and which of them are accessible to travellers with bicycles or using wheelchairs for example.

To complement the displays, 4-id also envision using a "light strip", illuminating the platform to give users the "true scale" of the occupational density of each train cart.

Other than being the gauge of a user's possible "travelling comfort", the Comfort Zone Display concept would also display the time (duh) and if WiFi-service is available. A more complex configuration could possibly allow the transit authority to alternate the feed with a video feed that allows the insertion of external advertising to help defray the cost of the new system and to include infotainment like a news feed.

How will they actually get the "comfort data"? Well it is a "concept" so that part is a little fuzzy and is buried underneath the design firm's pile of sketches but the idea would be to get input from a new sensor placed inside the carts or from face recognition software combined with their existing security cameras. Seems feasible.

Looking at the mock-up on the left of the "control center" screen, that illustrates head-counts coming from in-train cameras, I think the next logical evolution of their Comfort Zone Display is to take heat readings to try and predict which carts have the most people coughs and colds so that you can make sure you don't sit next to some one that may get you sick ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment