The Future Of... Bus Stops

The Future Of... Bus Stops

Summary: Tired of wondering when your ride will arrive? ZDNet correspondent Sumi Das explains how the Eyestop could forever change that waiting game for the better. A mix of smooth steel, clear curved glass and technology, this artful creation from the minds at MIT Media Lab could make your ride a little easier by telling you how many minutes until you can board, the fastest route to your destination and more.


Topics: Legal, Enterprise Software, Mobility

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  • Vandal-resistant tempered glass?

    You've got to be kidding! The students at MIT should familiarize themselves with what happens to a tempered glass panel when it meets up with a vandal equipped with a diamond-tipped or corundum-tipped engraving tool, or automatic center-punch. The results are a bit more spectacular than a few minor scratches.
    Tony R.
  • RE: The future of... bus stops

    They would be better off providing that information on smartphones than putting electronic displays in the bus shelters. As the smartphone becomes ubiquitous, it will be cheaper and more vandal-proof to put the info literally into the hands of the bus riders. Making the shelters and displays vandal-proof will just make the vandals try that much harder.
  • RE: The future of... bus stops

    We've put these "NextBus" signs in for the large bus/rail system in our city. First off, the signs are expensive so they finally went with permanent signs and a phone number, but the assumption that everyone has a phone with web access is elitist. Our system additionally offers an automated phone only response, given your start and stop locations. This still assumes that the bus crowd, which is traditionally less spendy, will all have phones.
    What would be a great idea is to take the GPS systems that make this possible and use them to manage bus progress. Then riders don't wait an hour-and-a-half only to have all three [late] buses come at once. I mean, if the bus is so often that late, does it really matter whether some device tells you it'll be along eventually? Especially since the current system of looking down the street is comparatively effective and much less costly.

    Our system, which is currently $174 million in the red, recently put up electronic signs in every station to tell when the trains would arrive. Odd, when you consider all trains at all stations arrive 15 minutes apart during regular hours and 5 minutes apart during rush hour. What's wrong with recorded announcements on our newly replaced sound systems? Those help, even if you can't read.

    The lure of the new is wonderful if it makes sense and you can afford it. But this news is old-hat since it's absent the buzzword du jour, "sustainability." It's an expensive bandage to avoid taking responsibility for getting the buses to run on time.

    Look next for radio-linked signs displaying the bus schedules, which will devolve into a phone/web service.
  • Vandals will have a heyday

    Neat idea, but not practical. No matter what you do, the vandals will be one step ahead. No matter how bullet proof the glass is, a can of black spraypaint completely defeats the purpose.

    Only the shelters at the heaviest locations stand a chance because there will always be someone watching.
  • RE: The future of... bus stops

    I lived in Germany 20 years ago and they used to have a schedule printed out at the bus stop. When it said 10:00 the bus was there at 10:00. You can have all the gadgets, but if the bus service sucks well, just wait 5 min or 2 hours for it to arrive.
  • RE: The future of... bus stops

    neat idea, but putting the whole shebang on a handheld GPS and subsidizing it to the whole population (like DTV converters) would make it more feasable, then the bus companies could put the profits into armored bus stop shelters.