E-paper timetables installed. Testing underway

Print Link opens new window
E-paper timetable at a bus stop

Six e-paper online timetables of Warsaw Public Transport have already been provided in several places in Warsaw. They are connected to an advanced system projecting when trams will actually arrive. Now they are being tested.

Warsaw Trams along with the Public Transport Authority have installed the timetables at several tram stops. The first two were placed at the stops near the Warsaw Uprising Museum in September. They were later supplemented by those at Zawiszy Square, at the Marymont underground station, and at the Dworzec Gdański railway station. Each consists of two parts. The first one features a timetable of tram lines with the exact time of departure of the next vehicle. It resembles an ordinary printed sheet which we have been using at bus stops for years. The second part contains dynamic information on when exactly the next trams will arrive and in what order. This data is updated every several seconds.

Real e-paper timetables

Timetables using e-paper can be changed centrally from one location, almost instantly. They are connected to the network, so there is no need to attend stops, stick and replace pre-printed sheets, which takes time and involves multiple employees. The second part of the board, where the upcoming tram departures are displayed in real time, is powered by GPS data. Warsaw Trams operate a system which uses information from satellite transmitters deployed in the trams. The system processes the data and, therefore, it is possible to predict when exactly the tram will arrive at the stop. The system provides information about the real time of the tram’s arrival and the data can also be read on a smartphone.

E-paper: plenty of benefits

As well as providing up-to-date information, the new timetables offer other advantages. Unlike traditional monitors, they consume hardly any energy. Their batteries can operate without power for up to seven days. Since they do not glow, they do not strain our eyes at all. This advantage is already known to those who read books on e-readers. The new timetables also contain no advertising or rapidly changing images, they are pure information. This is another advantage as we are constantly being flooded with unwanted content.

What’s next?

E-paper timetables are a means of using the data that the IT Department at Warsaw Trams processes and collects. Another measure is to speed up tram rides through the city using a tram green wave.

Tests of the new system will last several months, and tram operators will verify how the displays and the timetable update system work in practice. Afterwards, together with the Public Transport Authority, they will analyse what the impact of abandoning the traditional timetables is on both finances and work organisation of the services dealing with bus stop infrastructure.