Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104
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Automated Exterior Route Destination Sign Change

When the coach doors were opened, this function made an announcement to waiting riders at the bus zone, such as "Route 5 to Downtown Seattle via Greenwood."

Objective 2: Customer Satisfaction

Transit rider onboard survey

  • Over three-fourths (79 percent) of survey respondents rated the exterior route and destination announcements very or somewhat helpful, with 48 percent of respondents rating the function as very helpful.
  • The vast majority (77 percent) of respondents rated the volume of the exterior route and destination announcements as "just right."

  • Half (51 percent) of respondents indicated that the exterior route destination announcements were very clear, but 17 percent rated the announcements as "not at all clear," indicating a possible issue with the announcements.
  • When asked to select their preferred Smart Bus feature, only 8 percent of respondents selected the exterior route and destination announcements, and rated them last of the four alternative functions (see Figure 2).

ADA rider discussion

  • Participants in Sound Transit's Citizen's Accessibility Advisory Committee (CAAC) discussion noted the location of the exterior speaker between the front and rear doors on the 40-foot Gillig coach is problematic for sight-impaired passengers, as they expect route destination announcements, currently made by transit operators, to emanate from the front door.

Objective 3: Transit Operator Feedback

  • The external route and destination announcement function received mixed reactions from transit operator debriefing discussion participants. A few participants stated that they liked this feature, as it saved them the task of "having to holler out the front door" to visually impaired riders and that the function was well liked by their visually impaired customers. Other operators found the announcements annoying and repetitive, as the announcement was repeated each time the front or back door opened in a bus zone.
  • Most participants recommended that the announcement should play only once at a bus stop, to avoid replaying the announcement if the doors open again for late riders.

Using the onboard automated vehicle location and schedule information, the Smart Bus demonstration equipment automatically changed the coach exterior route and destination signs without operator intervention.

  • Transit operator debriefing participants expressed enthusiasm for the Smart Bus automatic destination sign change capability, and wanted to see this feature as part of the future system procurement.

Objective 4: Issues and Recommendations for Implementation

  • Some participants noted the current override requires too many keystrokes if the transit operator wishes to change route and destination signs manually, for example in case the system malfunctions, or the operator is required to operate an unexpected trip. The function would be improved, debriefing participants said, if the system were easier to override when an operator needs to manually change the coach's signage.
Updated: Sept. 2002