SkyTrain is an elevated dual track light rail transit system utilizing fully automated trains that operate within Metro Vancouver, British Columbia. The line is operated by the British Columbia Rapid Transit Company (BCRTC) under contract from TransLink, the regional government transportation agency. SkyTrain runs 49.5 km (30.8 mi) of track to make it the longest automated light rapid transit system in the world. In total there are 33 stations on the system encompassing two lines: the Expo Line opened in 1986 and the Millennium Line opened in 2002. On average there are over 200,000 passengers who use the system daily, that equates to over 74 million passengers per year.
Since SkyTrain’s inception the system has had periodic service disruptions due to medical emergencies, inclement weather and other issues. The BCRTC has always relied on sandwich boards and paper at station entrances to inform passengers of outages or issues with the system. In most cases passengers don’t notice the messaging and purchase tickets, and then have lengthy waits on the station platform; if they board a train it may pass right past their station because it’s closed. To solve this problem many ideas were discussed but the best idea was to use large LCD panels and digital signage software to distribute messaging to station entrances to ensure passengers are informed of any issues along the SkyTrain line.
The Station Entrance Emergency Information Panels (SEEIP) project was initiated to bring messaging to passengers before they purchase tickets; LCD panels located at station entrances inform passengers of any problems that could delay travel time. Best Buy Commercial Canada and iMediaT Digital (formerly bob loblaw Digital Media) were awarded the contract to implement the pilot SEEIP system at 5 stations along both SkyTrain Lines. The system was designed by iMediaT Digital and all professional LCD panel, enclosure and power/data cable installations were managed by Best Buy Commercial Canada and their subsidiary Geek Squad International.
iMediaT Digital designed a messaging system around the PADS software from Net Display Systems because PADS offered the industry’s best option for data integration with SQL server and existing BCRTC data sources. The network infrastructure was designed using baluns; a send/receive hardware technology that carries high definition video, audio and RS232 signals over long distances using fibre optic cable connected between a digital signage player PC and an LCD panel. The PCs are networked back to a server at the main operations centre which drives the system using the PADS software and SQL server.
iMediaT Digital also developed a browser based interface to assist Field Operations staff to create or edit emergency, amber alert, and general information messages. The system enables staff to direct custom messaging to a single screen or any combination of screens throughout the system. During normal operation iMediaT Digital designed content to inform passengers of SkyTrain rules, etiquette, interesting facts, and train tips.
About Net Display Systems
Since their establishment in 1994 Net Display Systems has evolved into a recognized worldwide player for digital signage software. Their core-business is developing digital signage software called PADS.
With an extensive partner network the Dutch company is proactive in more than 75 countries. Their partners are dedicated and specialized professionals providing installation, training and support of their products. Net Display Systems has thousands of installations in multiple market sectors from transportation, corporate and government to hospitality and retail.
One in four of the hundred world’s most recognized brands have chosen PADS as their digital signage platform.
Every day millions of people all over the world see displays running the PADS software of Net Display Systems. Installations vary from simple standalone solutions to national or global, complex and often mission critical digital signage solutions.