Using Tech To Make Transit Accessible For Those Without Smartphones - Nextcity

In the Twin Cities, Boston, New York City and beyond, transit agencies are experimenting with solar-powered e-paper signs and onboard transit signs to provide real-time updates.

By HENRY PAN


A solar-powered e-ink sign providing real-time transit information on Boston's Green Line train.
A solar-powered e-ink sign providing real-time transit information on Boston's Green Line train. (Photo credit MBTA)

When Paul Mielke gets to the Metro Transit bus stop at the northwest corner of Franklin and Nicollet, a busy intersection surrounded by brick apartment buildings new and old, about half a mile south of downtown Minneapolis, the first thing he looks at is a big yellow sign.


The sign, which is essentially a dual-screen Amazon Kindle mounted on a street pole, is powered by solar energy and feeds real-time schedule information pulled through a cellular modem. It’s one of several initiatives that transit agencies across the nation are working on to help people navigate transit without a smartphone.


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