The Future Of Mass Transit Information: More Real-Time Interaction With Mobile

Intersection, an out-of-home (OOH) media company, is running a pilot with the City of Philadelphia through IxNConnect Anywhere, its technology aimed at helping cities improve the urban experience for residents navigating the transit system.

IxNConnect Anywhere, an extension of Intersection’s digital street suite of services, is an on-demand mobile homepage that allows transit users to access dynamic city information relevant to that particular location on their device via QR codes without the need to download apps or logins.

It triggers information at a location -- eliminating the need to do a search -- such as train departure and arrival times, service updates.

The technology also gives the city of Philadelphia the ability to better tailor emergency messages.

The company says it has reduced privacy concerns, as there is no need to share latitude and longitude permission on the device to see local relevant information. 



“We don’t collect any data,” said Intersection CEO Chris Grosso. “That’s the beauty of it. The QR code is mapped to the bus location. … We take digital advertising and apply it to static technology.”

The ads are location based, but when someone scans the QR code it serves a specific URL that maps to the code’s location. While the informational service through IxNConnect Anywhere is free, revenue is collected through ads that appear in the bus shelter, Grosso said.

Growth in OOH ad spending continues to rise. In the third quarter of 2022, advertising revenue rose 11% compared with the previous year, hitting $1.94 billion. This data is based on a November 2022 poll of 1,461 adults conducted by Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and Morning Consult.

Apple, McDonald's, Samsung, Amazon, Google, Paramount+, American Express, T-Mobile, Panera, and Dunkin' were the top 10 advertisers for that time frame.

The data from OAAA doesn’t include non-advertising-type triggers like QR codes for information, but it shows that people are willing to interact with the signage.

Some 78% of consumers have engaged with an OOH ad in the past 60 days, according to a new OAAA and Morning Consult survey.

“The service is part of a package we hope will allow us to win our franchise agreements in public and private partnerships,” he said. “Getting ads placed in the public right-away is valuable to advertisers. … It’s a trade with the cities. It allows the city to get something out of it.”

Intersection has yet to add advertising on the website page that offers information about transit times — such as times or delays — but Grosso says that will likely happen in the future.

Other information the company could add in time includes bike-share availability, multimodal transit information, and local points of interest like closest coffee shop or restrooms.

Intersection’s systems have been in place for years, and supports New York City-based LinkNYC kiosks as well as free Wi-Fi service, and a service in Chicago.

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