Main | Tuesday, April 09, 2013

NYC Subway Launches Touchscreen Maps For Maximum Germ-Spreading

New York City's subway system is launching interactive touchscreen maps that will tell riders the best route, where to transfer, and an estimated travel time. The cost of the screens, of course, will be covered by video advertising.
Dozens of 6-foot-4-inch stainless-steel kiosks are to be installed in 19 subway stations in the next few months in what the Metropolitan Transportation Authority calls its “On the Go! Travel Station” program. They will replace some of the poster-size paper maps on platforms, mezzanines and turnstile areas, and also cut down on notices that sometimes proliferate to the point that they look like wallpaper.

Each kiosk will have an interactive display screen, measuring 46 inches diagonally, that can help riders navigate the system. The kiosks will also inaugurate a new kind of luminous, kinetic advertising that will be hard to avoid and almost impossible to ignore. Straphangers waiting for trains to arrive will be pretty much captive audiences. Who knows, though? Deep in commuting tedium, they may welcome a few minutes of diverting commercial video.
Gizmodo took a prototype for a test drive and their conclusion was that "these screens are freaking indestructible." (That line will doubtless challenge the city's hoodlums.) Despite my headline, germaphobes should know that the screen works by pressure and reacts more quickly when tapped with a coin or pen. They can also be washed with the same power hoses the MTA uses on the platforms once every quarter century.

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