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Case study

Case study
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Birmingham New Street station is used by 140,000 passengers every day. The station has undergone a major redevelopment that has created a world class station, a brighter, clearer and more enjoyable space with improved facilities using the latest in technology to enhance passenger journeys.

As part of a collaborative systems integration project, L.B. Foster Netpractise was commissioned to design, install, deliver and support a new interactive passenger information display system. It was an intricate and complex project. We approached the task by conducting a series of workshops with all local train operators to clearly understand the business needs and technical data requirements of all parties involved. We then developed the new media solution using in-house technical expertise to implement their unique software Digital Pro Media (DPM) to meet the brief. 

Solution

Passengers now have a wealth of up-to-the minute information at their fingertips by simply touching the screen to reveal a menu designed around the needs of a typical traveller. This includes finding ‘the next direct train to.’, live departure times, live arrival times, Birmingham New Street train times, a station map and a city map. 

‘The next direct train to.’ – passengers either select from the list of most popular destinations or manually enter the station of choice. The moment they start typing the system displays all the stations beginning with the letters typed. The software includes a built in complex word filtering to mitigate against any offensive words or phrases being left on screen by users. The next screen displays a clear list of the train times, destination, platform number, the latest estimated departure time and train operator logo.

Live departures – provides a list displaying the train departure times, destinations, platform numbers, latest estimated departure time and operator in time order

Live arrivals – provides a list displaying the train arrival times, destinations, platform numbers, latest estimated arrival time and operator in time order

New Street train times – passengers select a destination from the list of most popular or manually enter the station of choice and the screen displays a screen layout with train operating company (TOC) logos and detailed service information (including a pop-up legend). QR codes for each TOC enable the user to take away the information using their smartphone.

Station map – shows passengers a colour-coded map of the station including current location and areas such as toilets, tickets, seating areas and retail outlets. Passengers can touch the screen to zoom in and out of the map as needed.

City map – a comprehensive street map of the city centre with the ability to zoom in and out as required.

In addition to the display of relevant passenger information the screen includes a ‘flip’ function, which is compliant with DDA (Disability Discrimmination Act) regulations with no portion of the screen more than 1.4 metres above floor level. The system has also passed human factors testing, delivered by third parties to ensure its usability. Included in the criteria: intuitive, logical, plain English, common language, international symbols.

Results

The second phase of the project brings the system to life for the consumer by including an interactive map, full journey planner, increased real-time information, bus and further travel information. On completion the station will have 17 touch screen points located in key locations on the platforms and concourse. All locations have been carefully selected on the basis of pedflow (pedestrian) analysis, expected dwell times at the touchscreens and reviewed with the station operator to confirm with the station operational strategy.

Intuitive and simple menu systems enable passengers to select relevant information in seconds, reducing the inconvenience of approaching station staff or searching on a smartphone device. The system eliminates the need to plan journeys in advance and provides flexibility to change plans at a moment’s notice. In addition, passengers no longer need to carry hard copy timetables which often present out of date information. It also increases customer security as smartphones can be left securely in bags or pockets.

The system enables the rail operator to provide direct, up to the second train information to passengers in a user friendly, speedy, innovative way whilst maintaining their brand identity. The scrolling banner enables additional information to be tailored to the specific needs of that day. Allowing the passengers to independently and proactively find information enables the rail operator to utilise the skills of station personnel more effectively.

The system improves the flow of passengers moving through the concourse area by reducing the number of passengers standing still in order to scan the numerous information display screens. Increased passenger flow leads to improved passenger safety and security.

We select best of breed audio visual hardware from the world’s leading manufacturers to ensure the highest quality displays. Installing durable, robust equipment ensures a long product lifecycle which reduces the overall lifetime cost of the installation. Our DPM software platform enables regular updates to timetable and service information to be deployed without major expense. This flexibility means that future phases of the touchscreen roll-out will include information from other stakeholders in the project, such as Centro and Birmingham City Council.

Summary

Since the system launched, it has received extremely positive feedback from passengers, station operatives, management and support staff. The system has already sparked a high level of interest from the press including unprompted ITV coverage and several other train stations across the UK have expressed a strong desire to implement the system. For this major landmark station, the unique interactive passenger information display system that we implemented in partnership with the rail operator has vastly improved the overall rail customer experience.

featured europe en 05 October 2017 case-studies/details/2017-10-05-birmingham-new-street-gets-giant-interactive-displays