USSI Global partnered with Global Display Solutions (GDS) to transition six informational kiosks within the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) to modern interactive platforms. The 55-inch kiosks offer dynamic touchscreen capability for 65 million annual passengers, with maps and directory information for in-terminal wayfinding, bus routes, arrivals and departures, and local dining, entertainment, and lodging options.
The kiosks, positioned in heavy foot-traffic areas to maximize impact, offer a friendlier user experience to all passengers regardless of their familiarity with the terminal and the surrounding Manhattan neighborhoods. The new platforms replaced 15-year-old touchscreen displays that were limited to very basic wayfinding applications. The navigation functionality was further challenged by fading brightness and slowing performance, among other limitations.
“These upgrades come down to engaging commuters, informing visitors, and elevating the user experience,” said Robert Heise, general manager, GDS. “Beyond upgrading screens, they required new digital signage software to deliver a responsive touchscreen interface with modern wayfinding and navigational features. That includes connectivity to personal mobile devices, which makes it easy for users to send maps and information to their phones.”
GDS contracted USSI Global to perform all design, integration, and commissioning services starting with full site evaluations. USSI Global field technicians removed all existing screens and hardware, fortified mounting structures, and updated power and network connections before installing the new screens. That included upgrading wiring, routers, and electronics inside the kiosk structures where needed.
The architectural designs favored dual-kiosk configurations, using back-to-back or side-by-side positioning based on location. The IP65-rated GDS Midas LCD screens inside the kiosks are optically-bonded to protect against extreme temperatures and pollutants (such as dust and air ingress), and minimize reflection issues that impede the touchscreen experience. GDS’s touchscreen interface is atop the protective bonding to enhance optical performance for users.
“Improving touchscreen visibility was of paramount performance during the pandemic, as the PABT needed to clearly communicate safety guidelines around face masks and other protocols,” said Abed Zein, director of digital signage, USSI Global. “Working with GDS, we developed a comprehensive project management plan to execute these challenging upgrades within a two-month period that minimized passenger impact inside the terminal. Passengers moving through the terminal now have immediate access to guided maps, rich directories, and important safety and security alerts, with rugged and reliable GDS displays powered by impactful digital signage software.”
Zein added that the refurbished kiosks are also more than 25 percent smaller than the previous systems, which results in a less obstructive appearance for people moving through the terminal. The third-party software can also support out-of-home advertising should PABT choose to monetize the network in the future.