In late July the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Benaroya Hall completed the installation of two real-time bus information displays at the busy southbound bus stop on Third Avenue between Union and University streets. The 40-inch LCD monitors show riders the estimated wait times for buses and are part of a pilot program that has installed a total of six real-time signs along Third Avenue.
Third Avenue is the most heavily used transit corridor in Washington. Fifteen routes serve the Third Avenue and Union Street bus stop in front of Benaroya Hall, attracting almost 4,000 boardings per average weekday. This improvement is part of Seattle’s broader initiative to improve Third Avenue. Real-time displays have been shown to reduce stress and foster a stronger sense of safety and security, particularly for passengers waiting at night and during other times when buses do not arrive as often.
Installing real-time bus schedule technology at stops with high ridership bus routes is one of the actions in SDOT’s Action Agenda. Improving rider experience contributes to our goal of increasing citywide bus ridership (average weekday boardings) from 282,000 in 2010 to 303,000 by 2014. Read more about what SDOT is doing to make transit the efficient, affordable choice for a variety of trips at www.seattle.gov/transportation/actionagenda.htm .
All six of the signs in this program were installed in the windows of partnering businesses and organizations including Macy’s, Columbia Sportswear, the Fourth and Madison Building, and the King County Courthouse.
By working with partners to place real-time signs in storefront windows, SDOT was able to set up a large display capable of showing many arriving buses at a low cost. The large format of the display is important at these transit stops, due to the high number of buses and passengers. The signs provide information for all buses arriving in the next 30 to 40 minutes, which can include one or more buses per minute during rush hour.
The signs use the web site OneBusAway. OneBusAway was developed at the University of Washington and has become a popular service among transit users. To learn more about the variety of tools OneBusAway offers, visit www.onebusaway.org .