NYC Transit shares insight on digital signage kiosk deployment

New York City is a big city and its transit system serves a vast number of people — 1.763 billion people ride its subways annually, according to With so many riders passing through every day, it is key to deliver vital information, such as train arrivals and weather alerts, to commuters in a quick fashion and so the agency decided to deploy digital signage kiosks. The first step was determining what kiosk technology to use for displaying maps, travel information and alerts, explained Paul Fleuranges, VP of corporate communications at NYC Transit, during a keynote session at the recent Digital Signage Expo. It eventually partnered with Intersection and Outfront Media to deploy 370 On the Go digital signage kiosks. The On the Go Kiosk is designed with a touchscreen so users can interact with the device to find certain information. For example, customers can look up information on routes, wayfinding and local restaurants in the area. When not being used, the kiosks display a content loop to attract customers. Advertisers can also purchase advertising space on the kiosks. Fleuranges said the agency selected the kiosk because it could not rely on mobile apps alone to push out information. Damian Gutierrez, strategy lead of innovation at Intersection, emphasized that by understanding its goals, the agency was able to craft a more efficient experience for customers. "It's critical to think about your goals if you want your static signage to be interactive," Gutierrez said during the discussion. "Introducing any features that aren't delivering value to the end user is an expensive effort that's not warranted." Millennials have had a very positive response to the kiosks, but baby boomers, at times, did not know what the kiosks were for until they saw someone else using it, noted the speakers. Jose Avalos, global visual director at Intel, emphasized that one reason people will use a solution like the On the Go Kiosks is if they see someone else using it. "People will attract other people," explained Avalos. Yet, this can create another key problem. If people see a solution working well, they will likely all want to use it at the same time. Avalos emphasized the key to solve this problem is to deploy enough units so it's always available. The NYC Transit deployed 370 kiosks to meet customers' needs, according to Fleuranges Another key factor the agency needed to keep in mind were customer alerts regarding service delays or weather alerts. In order to address this, it used a tiered outage system designed to remove functionalities based on the level of the alert. The key to success for such deployments, noted the speakers, is to always keep goals in mind and meeting users' needs.