Innovation That Matters

SmartWalk projects real-time subway info onto the sidewalk


TransitScreen's SmartWalk is a display system that lets cities project the latest transport information on any surface.

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Printed posters offering public information and transport schedules feel almost unreliable in an age where apps can offer details of up-to-the-minute changes and alerts. We’ve already seen Points embed dynamic displays into street signposts, and now TransitScreen has created SmartWalk, a projected display system that lets cities display the latest transport information on any surface.

The company — which already offers screens that collect together real-time information about buses, trains and traffic in office and university buildings — is aiming to make that data more available in public spaces. Along with up-to-date public transport information, the SmartWalk system will be able to direct passersby in the direction of the nearest station, or to local amenities and places of interest, along with the amount of time it should take to get there. Since routes such as the one between Berkeley’s University of California campus and the downtown BART station — where a SmartWalk screen is set to be situated — is used by up to 3 million pedestrians each year, the audience for such a system could be huge.

The company has opted for projected displays due to ease of installation and reduced costs when it comes to seeking permission or renting wall space, although it means that the system only works at nighttime. However, SmartWalk moves useful real-time data about the city out of private buildings and users’ smartphones and makes it available to everyone. Are there other ways for cities to make smart data available to those walking around them?



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