Always up-to-date, clear and showing the waiting time until the next tram - these are the main advantages of electronic timetables that have appeared at Warsaw tram stops. They use e-paper technology combined with the cloud processing of GPS data. This is the first solution of this kind in Poland.
The first e-paper timetable of the Warsaw Public Transport is already installed at the tram stop at the Warsaw Rising Museum. Further e-paper timetables will appear at Zawiszy Square, at Marymont Metro Station and at Nowowiejska Street, near Niepodległości Avenue. Tramwaje Warszawskie, together with the Public Transport Authority, are installing six e-paper boards, to be followed by more. Each of them consists of two parts - the first contains a detailed timetable of tram lines with departure times (hours and minutes). The second part contains dynamic information - in how many minutes exactly the tram will arrive and in what order the vehicles will approach the stop. This information is refreshed every a dozen or so seconds.
How does it work?
Timetables using e-paper can be changed centrally from a single location, almost instantly. They are connected to the network and thanks to that in the case of schedule or route changes teams in charge of tram stop schedules do not have to go to stops and replace timetables printed on sheets of paper, which takes time and requires many employees. The second part of the board, where tram departures are displayed in real time, is fed with GPS data. Tramwaje Warszawskie have a system which uses information from satellite transmitters placed in trams. It processes the data, and in this way it is possible to predict in how many minutes the tram will arrive at the stop. The application provides the real time of the tram arrival – the data is displayed on the boards of the passenger information system; you can also read it on your smartphone (opens in new tab).
E-paper: countless advantages
In addition to providing up-to-date information, the new timetables have other benefits. Unlike traditional displays, they use very little energy. Their batteries last up to seven days without power supply. It is also possible to connect them to photovoltaic panels. Since they glow slightly only at night, they do not cause eye fatigue. This benefit is familiar to those who read books on e-paper readers. There are also no advertisements, rapidly changing images in the new schedules, they are clear and pure information. This is another advantage nowadays, when we are constantly flooded with unnecessary content.
Testing the new system will take several months. First we will gather passengers' opinions about its work and usefulness while travelling by Warsaw Public Transport. It will also be necessary to check how the displays work in various weather conditions and how smoothly the timetable information update module operates. Attention will also be paid to changes brought the gradual abandonment of traditional paper timetables and their impact on costs, preparation and corrections in Warsaw Public Transport timetables.
E-paper timetables are another way to use the data that is processed and collected by the IT department at Tramwaje Warszawskie. Yet another way to speed up trams (opens in new tab) in the city is the tram green wave.