Blue Line stations reopening this weekend have new IxNTouch information screens

Rail service on the southern section of the Blue Line resumes on Saturday after four months of work to modernize the line. One big change riders will see at the stations: digital display cases that will be offering a variety of transit info.

The cases are officially known as IxNTouch information screens and were developed by Intersection, the firm that handles advertising on the Metro Rail system.

A few more things to know about the IxNTouch screen:

• About 41 of the IxNTouch screens have been installed at Blue Line stations between Downtown Long Beach and Compton.

• The screens will have rail and bus arrival times, system and station area maps, service alerts and updates, Metro public service announcements and, if need be, can show emergency messaging.

• This is part of Metro’s effort to improve its digital offerings. We currently rely on static maps at the stations whereas the new IxNTouch screens can show the kind of real-time info we think customers want.

• A trip planner function will be added at a later date.

• The screens will also be installed at stations on the northern half of the Blue Line during the northern closures over the next four months. Several will be installed at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station.

• After that work is complete, hundreds more of the screens will be phased in across the entire Metro system over the next few years. There will be at least two screens per station. Next up in 2020 will be the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Expo Line.

• The screens were installed by Intersection, a firm that was awarded a 10-year contract by Metro in Jan. 2018 to sell and display advertising on the Metro Rail system. As part of the contract, Intersection committed to investing nearly $20 million in digital equipment on the Metro system and paying Metro at least $42.6 million in ad revenues. Long story short: ad revenues are paying for the digital screens.

• And, yes, that means there will be advertising displayed on the screens. And, yes, Metro does have restrictions about what advertising is allowed on the system. Restrictions include ads that contain but are not limited to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, weapons, vulgar or obscene language, endorsing violence, illegal activity and religious, non-commercial, or political messages.

Below are some GIFs that show what the screens can do:

18 replies

  1. The circle to point out what station you’re currently located at should be changed to a highlighted feature instead. For an example: you’re at Laurel Canyon. Instead of the station being circled on the map, the stop icon/marker should be outlined green. And for disrupted service, the stops that are affected should be outlined red or even shown out of service like the A Line’s closure maps.

  2. Hope you made them damage proof. Can’t see them lasting very long. How about an app for fares, instead of the tap card system? Really bothers me that I have to buy a card to put money on that card, just for it to expire and have to buy another card. If that fee for the physical card went toward my fare, would be nicer. There are scanners for other transit systems to transfer to Metro from Amtrak and Metrolink, no need to buy a card there. It would cut down the expense of tap cards, as well as their footprint in our garbage system.

    • In English, not corporate-ese, that would be “In Touch.” 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. So is the reason that Expo Line stations were built without real-time arrival screens because this company was given a contract to install these screens later?

    And the contract is only for Metro Rail? How will Metro finance real-time arrival screens for bus stops?

    Thanks

    • Hi Mehmet;

      The Expo Line to Santa Monica opened in 2016 and the advertising contract with Intersection — which includes these new digital displays — was not approved until well after Expo opened. Thus, the Expo stations will be retrofitted.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Thanks Steve. No good turn goes unpunished, so I do have two follow up questions if you don’t mind!

        So does this mean that Metro couldn’t install real time arrival screens during station construction of Expo Line stations because the contract with IxN Touch barred them from doing so? Or were they just forgotten or omitted for some other reason?

        Are Purple Line Extension stations going to get these at opening, and will all other rail stations get them at opening moving forward?

      • So does this mean that Metro couldn’t install real time arrival screens during station construction of Expo stations because the contract with IxN Touch barred them from doing so or were they just forgotten or omitted for some other reason?

        Are Purple Line Extension stations going to get these at opening, and will all other rail stations get them at opening moving forward?

        Thanks!

        • No, I didn’t say that. To repeat: the Expo Line was built and completed about two years before Metro approved the new advertising contract that includes the digital displays. The displays were not forgotten or omitted on Expo. They simply were not part of the project. The displays are being installed now because our rail advertising firm, Intersection, is use ad revenues to install them.

          The plan is to install these across the rest of the system and to try to have them in place when rail lines open. That’s why Crenshaw and Expo are next.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • Thanks Steve, that’s helpful. So are there any plans to systematically install real-time arrival screens in some form form at Metro Bus stops? It seems like the ongoing contract negotiations between the City of LA and JC Decaux offer an excellent opportunity to form such a partnership?

          • Hi Mehmet —

            Outside of our bus rapid transit lines, the bus stops are the domain of the cities where they’re located. We certainly talk to cities but at the end of the day, it’s their call and it’s their ad contracts. I personally like hardware at bus stops but also feel like in the smart phone age that perhaps becomes less important over time.

            Steve Hymon
            Editor, The Source

  4. Why does Metro have a ban on non-commercial messaging specifically? What if someone wanted to rent the the space for a benevolent art project or just wanted to pay to have “no ads”? This would be forbidden would it not? Perhaps this exclusion is phrased too broadly.

    • This is a precedence-setting issue. If you open your space to non-commercial messages, then you limit your ability to regulate what goes on your spaces altogether. This has been solidified through case law.

  5. Hi Steve, will there be an option to use the interactive screens in other languages outside of Spanish? I’m thinking about tourists visiting from other countries and how we can help them more when they are lost.

    • Hi Josh;

      The immediate focus was to get the screens with a basic set of features installed in time for the Blue Line stations reopening. It isplanned to provide multiple languages on the screen — including those popular with tourists. No ETA yet and I’m not sure yet if it will be sooner or later. I did let the folks who oversee the screens know about your inquiry. I’m also told there will be a customer survey done focusing on the screens and I’m guessing the language issue will arise as part of that. Hope that helps!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Thanks, Steve! Definitely helps. We all know this, but it would really elevate the experience to be more accommodating tourists. Obviously provided all languages isn’t realistic, but the top 5-10 would be awesome. It would also help build our reputation of being a more global city. Thanks for inquiring!