Bus shelters are one of those city fixtures that we hardly notice until we need them. I know I'm always grateful for the shade and seat a shelter provides while I'm waiting for my ride. Until now, these shelters have dutifully performed their job: give people a place to recharge until they move to their next destination.
But imaginative people in the City of Los Angeles and at Outfront/JCDecaux Street Furniture are seeing the greater potential of bus shelters as technological service providers. The modest shelter can also be a place to recharge, literally, with USB charging stations for your mobile devices. A shelter can also be a source of light with low-energy LED lighting powered by the sun.
A shelter can also be a helpful companion that will let you know what buses will arrive when to take you to the myriad destinations served by LA's ever expanding public transportation options. For those with vision impairment, the shelter has an audio interface which will read the bus schedule to you at the press of a button.
The shelters will integrate the schedules from both LA Metro and LADOT DASH through the efforts of the agencies and Syncromatics, the company that makes it possible to know exactly where the DASH buses are.
By providing free Wi-Fi, the shelters will connect your mobile devices with the Internet; and small, broadcast-only Bluetooth radio beacons have the capacity to work with opt-in apps and future innovations to turn your phone into a local guide-- and more. This combination of features turns the shelter into what the tech crowd might call, "a platform capable of unlocking future innovations that we can barely imagine."
That might sounds like an overstatement, but it's true. This is 21st century technology at work--fundamentally improving customer service across our city.