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New Transit Screens Will Help Seattle Commuters Optimize Connections

Seattle is joining other big cities with a new tool to make it easier to use public transportation. The city’s first TransitScreen is up and running at the Seattle Municipal Tower. The big screen display gives commuters in the building real-time information about their best travel options. And more TransitScreens are on the way. 

It’s a pretty simple idea, but it works, says Rick Sheridan with Seattle’s Department of Transportation. A big screen in the lobby of a building where thousands of people work aggregates the schedules of all the nearby transit options.

“So a viewer can look at that screen and see what’s happening with nearby bus routes, what the status of the water taxi is, and where the nearby locations are for things like car share and bike share,” he said.

And it shows how many bikes or cars are available and how long it would take to walk to them, as well as up-to-the-minute arrival times from tracking devices on the buses.

“So gives you real-time information about what’s closest and what’s the best option,” he said.  

The city is subsidizing up to 20 more in Seattle, with building owners covering the cost of installation and the reader boards donated by TransitScreen.  

The Bank of America Tower is the first selected; the city is taking applications for future locations. In addition, Amazon dot com and Children’s Hospital are installing the screens on their own.

Other cities that already have this technology include New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Francisco. 

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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