NYC subways to get interactive information touchscreens

New York City subways are about to get a whole lot easier for tourists (and non-smartphone owners) to use.

In New York, there are lots of jokes about the myriad ways to spot a tourist. But one of the giveaways -- the fact that they have to ask other subway riders how to get to their destinations -- may soon become a thing of the past.

A new project by the New York City MTA and innovation firm Control Group plans to bring interactive high-definition displays to the subway stations; these screens will show real-time information, such as a countdown to the next train, delays, service updates and outages.

And the feature that will obviate the need for tourists to ask locals for directions is a subway navigation map that will show users how to get to any stations that they tap -- transfers and all.

Of course, the screens will also display ads, which currently bring $100 million in revenue to the MTA every year, according to Fast Company.

Oh -- and for you germophobes out there, Control Group released a statement in response to comments about the sanitation of touchscreens in the subway:

One of the principles of our design was to minimize touch and gestures with one click navigation. Also, the DST display works with any object--finger, nail, pen, etc. And the screen is in waterproof enclosure to enable regular cleaning. And just like the thousands of Metrocard machines in the NYC subway system that feature a touchscreen, the MTA will maintain the new kiosks.

Related on SmartPlanet:

via: Fast Company, Control Group

photos: Courtesy of Control Group

This post was originally published on