Signs of our Digital Times

Even during the coldest days of winter, LI Bus's digital signs at the Mineola Intermodal Center offer customers comfort.

The information kiosks were installed as a pilot program funded by an "Intelligent Transportation System" federal grant to make information available to customers. The seven digital display towers show the bus route, primary destinations, the next three arrival times, and bus bay assignments on 32-inch LCD screens. If the program is successful in Mineola, customers could see the kiosks at other intermodal locations throughout Nassau County.

"It's great to be able to reference the frequency of my bus," said George Nickas, before boarding the N40 bus. "It's convenient and makes my commute easier."

The signs were recently installed as a way to use technology to improve communication and the customer's experience. The digital displays provide customers with unlimited access schedule information in a public space without relying on printed materials.

Two of the seven units are equipped with interactive kiosks. These kiosks are "touch screen" interactive computer terminals used to retrieve information. With the touch of a finger, travelers can access LI Bus, NYCT, or LIRR info including schedules, transfer info, maps, and service advisories. Customers can also access Google Transit and other online databases to map out their most efficient public transportation route using subway, bus, or train.

Kiosks allow customers to access any transit information they need. If customers have questions during business hours, they can also use the phone located below the departure display to connect directly with a customer service representative that can provide travel information. Braille signage and voice activation buttons allow access to the visually impaired.

In the future, vehicle location technology could be used to provide the current location of buses in real time and the digital signs could be updated automatically to reflect service changes or weather-related delays.

The sleek, white, and brushed steel digital display units are already becoming an eye-catching landmark at the Mineola Intermodal Center, or as one high school student put it, "schedules can rock."