A new digital signage system that provides real-time information on transit buses is getting a big “thumbs up” from public transit riders in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hadley facilitated a seven month pilot program with The RAPID, the Transit Authority for West Michigan’s largest community. By partnering with The RAPID, Hadley receives solid feedback before making the system available to transit systems in the United States.

Throughout the route, an on-board digital display loops through a variety of relevant information. And not unlike the notifications on your cell phone, the signage updates passengers through on-screen alerts with weather updates and traffic conditions as well as dining, entertainment and shopping options at the next stop and along the route. The information is triggered by the bus’s location through a GPS-type of tracking.

The ability to customize alerts in real time is appealing to communities and municipalities for events that cause delays, safety concerns, or create disruptions to traffic and schedules. But beyond these reasons to use the digital signage, the information can enhance community involvement by helping event attendees navigate their way around the city. The experience is enjoyed more like a scheduled tour bus through the guidance given on screen.

The system also plays a key role in fostering the success of key community events. For instance, the 2014 ArtPrize organizers took advantage of the digital signage pilot program to help with the massive influx of visitors to downtown Grand Rapids. ArtPrize, a nineteen day public event in Grand Rapids, draws more than 400,000 visitors, nearly doubling the population for a short time. Billed as ‘an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from around the world pops up in every inch of downtown, and it’s all free and open to the public. It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.’

During the event, ArtPrize provided their Facebook feed to the display, giving passengers information about how and where to purchase tickets for the exhibits, the locations of unique and popular displays and updates on where to find the less congested areas at that time. Visitors were able to maximize number of exhibits viewed and enjoyed the experience more with the benefit of the digital signage.  Anyone who has managed event traffic can appreciate how useful this kind of tool is to keeping the flow going and avoiding bottlenecks.

According to Jennifer Kalczuk, External Relations Manager for The Rapid, “We participated in the Digital Signage pilot program because it enhances the passenger experience.”  The Rapid uses the digital signage for notifications like detours, service route changes and transit authority meetings. “It gives passengers a very visual way to know where they are and what’s coming up” says Kalczuk, “and we’ve heard really good feedback from passengers”.

Good feedback indeed; passengers of The Rapid lauded the convenience and helpfulness of the information provided to them en route. While vital route updates were noted most often as the biggest benefit, the news, weather and local information gave passengers a reason to view The Rapid as a useful resource for community awareness.

Hadley is located in Grandville, Michigan –a bedroom community of Grand Rapids. As the pilot phase of development comes near to completion with The Rapid in March 2015, Hadley says they’re able to better identify the signage content that is most appealing to passengers.

“The feedback received through this partnership confirms that the benefits of digital signage on buses goes beyond the convenience to passengers” said Bob Dubsky, President of Hadley. “Now, it becomes a tool for providing a key community service because every community has reasons to inform the public with real-time, dynamic information.”

In this age of technology, having access to the latest news, weather and local events has become part of our everyday life. Bringing that service to public transit passengers doesn’t need to be a luxury item on the Transit Authority’s wish list. Hadley’s Digital Signage System uses a software platform that allows Transit Authorities and their Advertising Partners to publish advertising in a very effective manner. The digital signage system then becomes a revenue source that pays for itself and more, as well as fostering key community objectives.

About Hadley: Based in Grandville, Michigan, Hadley is a well-known and respected supplier of quality components and solutions for the Class 5-8 Truck and Tractor, Trailer, Transit & Shuttle Bus, RV, Motorcoach, Specialty Vehicle markets and associated aftermarket distribution.  Their products include Hadley’s world famous air horns, mechanical and electronic (SAMS & SmartValve) height control valves for chassis / cab air suspension systems, truck mirrors, transit mirrors, mini 12/24 volt DC air compressors for a variety of applications, and fully integrated interior lighting systems/luggage racks for transit, shuttle and motorcoach vehicles.

Hadley continues to expand its customer product and service offerings and is a pioneering force in the creation of value-added “Smart” products and systems.   Hadley’s aggressive innovation process reflects its focus on: “Your Vehicle. Your Company. Your Success.”

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