Using Tech To Make Transit Accessible For Those Without Smartphones

Making real-time transit information accessible in more places, however, is an expensive and sometimes intrusive endeavor that often requires coordination with other agencies to access existing buried utilities. So agencies in the Twin Cities, Boston, New York City and beyond are experimenting with technology such as e-paper as a way to get around it.

The e-paper signs, which Metro Transit first deployed in 2021 are different — and cheaper to procure — than the full-color displays that they have installed at their rapid bus stops, as well as on stops on Nicollet Mall. The full-color displays, which cost just under $10,000 for the computer and monitor alone, rely on fiber and hardwired electrical connections, as well as an onboard computer and air conditioning, to work.

Riders say the e-paper signs, which cost between $3,500 to $5,000 each, are easier to read because they are high-contrast and don’t produce glare.