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Is there anything better than combining the subway with technology? If you answered “no” you are correct! Over the last couple of years, the NYC MTA (that’s the transit authority) has been wrapping subway cars with ads. Most of the wraps on the main subway lines have been boring but the 42nd Street Shuttle which runs back-and-forth from Times Square to Grand Central always seems to get the coolest wraps.
Vitamin Water had a neat wrap as all of the seats were different colors to match their products, the Travel Channel promoted Anthony Bourdain’s show and American Airlines tried to make the train look like the plane (although the train has a better on-time rate!).
Set on the tracks earlier this month is an advertising wrap from HTC featuring their line of tablets. There are a large number of tablet devices throughout the subway cars featuring all of the different ways you can use the Android-powered tablet device. There are also prominent calls to purchase the HTC tablet at Best Buy. They are specifically showing off the ability to use a special stylus with the HTC Tablet.
Below are a couple photos from the HTC Tablet with Scribe Technology wrap – there are more photos on SubChat.
These shuttle trains are packed during rush hours and riders only have 2-3 minutes on the shuttle so they might be more likely to see the advertising than on a mainline train where they have time to take out a newspaper or play with their mobile devices.
The New York City MTA (that’s the group that runs the subway and buses among other transit functions) has announced the upcoming launch of the first NYC transit MTA App Center. The App Center will operate in a similar fashion to the Apple App Store and is described as a way, “to showcase the great apps you have built for MTA customers and make them easier to locate.”
If you want to be included in the launch of the App Center, you need to submit your info by Friday April 29, 2011. If you miss this initial launch round, your submission will be included in a future App Center update.
To learn more about the MTA developer programs, check out their developer website.
When I tell my friends that the thing I miss most about NYC are my subways and buses, they think I have lost my marbles. They can’t understand why anyone would miss a subway system that has rats that jump on people while they sleep on trains. Even today, I am 5,000 miles from NYC yet I am monitoring the snow situation on both the rails and buses.
If you are like me (proudly raise your hand!) or if you want to help the earth deal with all of the toxic crap that more cars bring, check out the upcoming TransportationCamp. OpenPlans is producing the event and they describe why now is the perfect time for the unconference, “Transportation is a major metropolitan issue, with direct impacts on economic strength, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Recent advances in technology (“web 2.0”, mobile computing, open source software, open data and APIs, and spatial analysis) present an opportunity to improve mobility more immediately and at a lower cost than has ever been possible in the past.”
There have been transit events in the past but this event will open to all types of transportation – from bike to rail.
The event organizers note, “major themes of discussion will include: open data — best practices and technical challenges, ways to lower the cost of technology for transportation agencies, and creative new approaches to addressing transportation issues.”
If you are a regular reader here at CN, you know that I am a big fan of public transit. I actually miss riding my subways in NYC now that I live in Texas (my friends think I am crazy!). It’s been so interesting and exciting to watch the MTA (that’s the NYC transit agency) embrace technology over the past 12-18 months.
At the MTA Transit Committee meeting for January 2011, there was some interesting information regarding RFID testing. The information begins by noting that on the 7 train line which runs from Times Square out to Main Street in Queens, they are testing a new train tracking system called the Interactive Train Registry Activity Console (I-Trac).
From the report, “The I-TRAC system is a web-based system with many advantages…updates can be implemented very quickly and will only require a refresh of the browser to be activated by the end-user. Updates will be performed between rush hours.”
During November 2010, the MTA tested RFID and GPS units along the 7 train line. From the report, “TIS installed barcode RFID tags on a 7 train so that the barcode could be read by a hand held device to test the GPS. On December 15, TIS conducted their RFID and GPS test on the 7 line at the Vernon-Jackson station.” The report continues, “The data will be captured via the trains, downloaded, converted to the Transit TIS system, and then broadcasted to the public. The GPS and RFID reader gave very good results. The RFID gave accurate readings of trains entering and leaving the stations…The next step will be for the vendor and Subways Engineering to conduct site surveys of three stations where RFID readers will be installed.”
The MTA has been testing countdown clocks at a variety of subway stations. My issue with these clocks is that they are only available after you have paid your fare and are waiting on the platform. It looks like these new RFID/GPS units will be able to broadcast realtime information so you can make a decision before you leave home or the office.
Yesterday I wrote about how new surveillance cameras were installed in several NYC subway stations. Earlier today Visa launched a program where subway riders could use their iPhone devices to pay their fare.
Just over a year ago, the NYC MTA began a program to “wrap” subway cars with advertising. The program focuses mainly on the 42nd Street Grand Central-Times Square shuttle (which is only one stop and only runs three-car trains).
Today the MTA announced the launch of a test program where advertisers can buy ad space which includes a video display. The video monitors will feature baseball highlights (clearly they will show the Yankees winning each night) and the content will be refreshed daily. The displays will have no audio. In some cities the advertising monitors allow for audio on a specific AM or FM frequency but that feature is not part of this new test rollout.
From the announcement, “On the subway, the inside and outside of a train serving the 42nd Street Shuttle (S) are fully wrapped with advertisements promoting TBS’ coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2010 postseason. While subway car wraps have become increasingly popular with advertisers, this campaign is the first to make use of moving images. Video screens inside the subway cars are showing replays of the previous night’s baseball highlights.”
The MTA reports that this program costs the taxpayers nothing as their partnership with CBS Advertising and the advertisers foot the bill. The MTA also reports that they take in over $100 million in advertising revenue per year.
Continue reading “NYC MTA Adds New Video Advertising Screens to Trains” »
You better not pick your nose the next time you are waiting for an uptown A train! The Daily News noted that 700 cameras are up and recording activity around NYC with some of the cameras setup in the NYC subway system. Eventually there will be over 3,000 cameras around the city recording everything you do and say. This is your real-world check in app.
Currently video is flowing from Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square. Mayor Bloomberg says more subway stations will be online soon.
MTA Chief Jay Walder says the plan is to link up some, but not all, of the subway cameras into the overall police monitoring system.
It’s still so amazing to me the speed at which technology projects are being implemented in the MTA NYC subway system. It seems like just a few years ago, the only technology in the system were a bunch of new train cars. Today we have talk of cell phone signals coming to the system, a real-time API, a developer’s group with active participation from the MTA and even a conference for developers.
This is the final post (I think!) regarding the MTA developer conference last week. The OpenPlans group has posted all of the videos from the event. You can just listen to the videos – there’s really no need to watch them. But if you are into transit, want to hear where NYC transit is moving and/or looking to build a mobile transit app, you should listen to the videos.
The panel discussion is interesting – especially the part about how the NY Times uses the available transit data.
In related news, if you are into transit and tech in Philadelphia, the PhillyTransit meetup will be held this Thursday evening.
Here’s the first video – the rest can be found on the OpenPlans YouTube channel.
Continue reading “Full Videos From the Transit Conference” »