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Red Dot Digital Media (Red Dot) recently completed a reconstruction project for the Transit Authority of River City (TARC).

The project included several transit components, including eight branded buses and a total of 36 stations with IT, fiber connectivity between corridor components, and priority traffic signal components along the corridor.

The centerpiece of the project is a network of digital kiosks located at each of TARC’s 36 transit stations. With buses continuously providing their GPS coordinates to the network, the terminals display real-time bus locations, with accurate stop times based on bus location, route and speed. Red Dot’s involvement encompassed station IT, which included the design and development of an upcoming bus server application powering location-independent endpoints translated into visual and voice information for waiting passengers at public transport stations.

“Red Dot was the preferred partner in the IT part of the project corridor. It’s great to work with them, proactive and punctual,” said David Herde, TARC ITS Engineer. “They delivered a beautiful and functional solution that not only meets our vision and requirements, but exceeds our expectations.”

Red Dot designed a system with endpoints using GPS dongles interfacing with BrightSign media players to provide the local coordinates used by the “next bus server” application needed to identify the StopID of the bus stop on closer. This unique implementation means that locations and stops are not hard-coded into the device; instead, bus stop times are determined by local GPS coordinates and nearest stops. Arrival data is pulled from TARC’s Google GTFS timetable feed to provide arrival information to endpoints in real time. A replacement mechanism was also developed to override GPS dongle coordinates and assign a particular StopID for the player to use.

At each of the terminals, a BrightSign-enabled display provides information to passengers at each transit stop. With the press of a button, the BrightSign reader triggers audio prompts from a text-to-speech device informing passengers of the expected arrival of the next bus. Additionally, the kiosks display upcoming bus information for the next 10 arriving buses, with the first four displaying estimated arrival times.

The kiosks also display important information about TARC service alerts and other information about potential disruptions. Content is displayed via a pair of informative tickers that pull service alert data from TARC’s Google real-time feed. One ticker displays stop-specific service alerts and the other displays general TARC news alerts.

A large part of each kiosk is dedicated to a rotating stream of informative content, including a full route map, a detailed local bus stop map with incoming bus locations and weather forecasts to help alert passengers from incoming weather systems.

Red Dot says special care has been taken to implement ADA best practices to ensure kiosks are accessible to everyone, with text-to-speech functionality to verbally broadcast, on-demand, service to visually impaired passengers. Additionally, text-to-speech service alerts are available in English and Spanish.

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