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Posted at 1:46 PM ET, 12/20/2010

First transit TV makes debut

By Luke Rosiak

Update 4pm: "We are already planning to install NextBus displays in bus shelters across the city, but this pilot demonstrates how a more robust platform with state-of-the-art technology can empower travelers with even more information in-place where they need it," Klein said in a statement. "Multiple transportation options are layered on this one dynamic display - not just buses, but Metrorail, bikesharing and carsharing as well."

Here's a video of it in action.

Original post: There's a new big-screen TV in the Reeves Center, but patrons of the center can't watch it.

Instead, the TV is facing out the window, clearly visible from the heavily-used bus stop at 14th and U streets. Pedestrians can see at a glance the positions of relevant buses, Metro trains, Capital Bikeshare stations and transit news.

While bus technology may not have changed much in the last several decades, it's advances in this kind of technology--and just as importantly, on open information-sharing by the various transit agencies--that have made buses dramatically more appealing in recent years.

For example, those who at one point might have driven or taken Metro rather than risk standing aimlessly at a corner bus stop until a bus eventually came--or did not come--can now check NextBus on their cell phones or computers, and arrive at the bus stop just as the bus does.

This type of screen helps people choose the best mode of transit for that exact location at that exact time--even riders very familiar with routes can see at a glance whether the next bus or the next train will come soonest, and make a decision accordingly. It serves riders who may not have cell phones or computers; and saves time by being targeted to transit near the location of the screen.

Outgoing District Department of Transportation director Gabe Klein will demo it today at 3pm. The 14th & U location is the first of an unknown number of screens that could go up around town.

In responding to a question over Twitter, Klein did not address how the screens would be funded.

By Luke Rosiak  | December 20, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Transit, Transportation News, Transportation Politics  
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Can we have one at Farragut Square? There are about a dozen bus lines on I/17th streets and two metro lines, with a third a block away. Alternatively, and perhaps more cheaply, how about something like the scrolling electronic arrival times boards on bus stop shelters in downtown San Francisco?

Posted by: busgirl1 | December 20, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Given the lousy performance of the PIDs in the Metrorail system, I don't have much confidence on how well or long these will last. Typical of DC to be willing to spend $$$$$ on the next new electronic toy while the last electronic toy becomes a useless decorative object in the Metro stations.

And why am I not surprised that Klein refused to address the funding issue?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 20, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

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