Saturday, May 10, 2008

Low-tech passenger information

Passengers would need to be blind or stupid not to notice this:

One way to advise of cancelled trains:

Simple? Yes. But blackboards do the job, cost almost nothing and reflect well on the station staff involved. They are labour-intensive, especially if they need to be changed and/or are on platforms away from the main building. It is at large stations and nearby bus stops that electronic displays come into their own, at the cost of flexibility and (possibly) loss of local control.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.

While I'm all for KISS and not letting technology get in the way of having the write staff and processes, I would add that doing this in 2008 is not what we should be aiming for.

Electronic indicators are dangerous in the hands of fools, as Smartbus and any number of other systems around town will show.

Turn-up-and-go systems need little in the way of real time information, and that which is needed should be provided the following ways:

-by SMS (the current Connex system doesn't work)

-by voice done centrally (and the current system isn't effective because poor staff culture)

-by email to people at work

When it all comes out in the wash, I would suggest that the best passenger information is what passengers see - a train running, a bus standing next to a train, and the best cure for late running is to fix the late running rather than spend a fortune on systems designed to mitigate the consequences.

As I posted in my navigability section - when you see the London Underground symbol anywhere in London (except a couple of places), you know you are going to find a turn up and go service that will take you to any other place with the same symbol.

You don't need much other information, besides a station locality map for the exits, a system map for the lines and the locations and destinations of bus stops nearby.