Check out the Sweet Metro Displays

Plasma 2

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

So, there’s something to be said for the current generation of track signs and station displays. That something is usually derogatory, though, as the trains feel like they’re further away than perhaps they are, or they’re telling us something about delays and track work, and other unpleasantness.

This new Plasma screen at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Station, though, makes me forget all about elevator outages and track work and even trains that are far away. Nicely done, Metro, these are gorgeous displays that convey information in a clean and easily readable way. There’s a very pleasant aesthetic to them, and I hope to see more of them out in the wild. Apparently, you may also have seen them in Rosslyn or Silver Spring. Clearly my Clarendon to Farragut trip just hasn’t taken me past these lovely new displays.

A belated nicely done, Metro.

8 Comments so far

  1. Brian (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 9:20 am

    I’m in love with these at Gallery Place, but I’m wondering what it would take (money? sponsorship?) to get them at other stations in the system.

  2. Ex-Hy Hy (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 9:25 am

    Does Metro really have the capital to spend on this kind of luxury? Is this worth jacking up the already bloated fares?

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 9:29 am

    I don’t necessarily think this is a bad expense, honestly, and perhaps there’s a way, like Brian suggested, of getting these sponsored by local businesses as ad revenue.

    They’re gorgeous signs, and way more information dense that the platform signs up already.

  4. Twitch (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 9:46 am

    I would rather Metro spend the time to fix the PIDS that are in the entrance to (certain?) stations. They consistently display the wrong information. I jumped onto a blue line train at McPherson Square by mistake because the PIDS at the entrance to the turnstiles indicated that an orange line train was arriving. Granted, I should have double checked the sign on the actual train… For a short time after that happened I tried to pay attention to what was being displayed and it was wrong time and time again. Now I just ignore the PIDS until I get onto the platform.

    I think the new plasma screens should show movies in Hi-Def. What was that movie where the people were trapped in a tunnel in L.A.???

  5. Brian (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    Considering the businesses and event venue right atop the Gallery Place station, it’s not a surprise that the station got newer clearer signage (my co-workers mention that it’s much harder to get turned around in there) and the multiple LCDs showing arrivals for Red/Yellow/Green.

  6. fedward (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    That’s not a particularly information dense sign, actually. It only shows the same three lines of “next train” information (much more clearly, I’ll grant) but a third of the screen is given over to useless background that makes the station name difficult to read, and the outage information at the bottom has a smaller typeface than necessary, and leaves unused space above it.

    Scratch the background image, remove the “welcome to” and put just the station name at the top, include the time, and make better use of the space for outages, and it would be a much better sign. They could also change the text color for the line names (make “Red” red and so on), but at least yellow-on-black is a highly legible combination.

  7. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

    It’s much denser than you think. The crawl along the bottom shows escalator/elevator malfunctions, and if there’s a delay condition, that’s above that in red. I felt that the two were perfectly readable even from 15′ away.

    I like the background image, it adds style, but doesn’t detract from readability. Nice compromise.

  8. fedward (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    Why does the empty line for delays need to be there while there aren’t any to report? The crawl should expand to fill two lines while there are no delays, and shrink to a smaller format if there’s a delay to announce.

    And I still think the board should have the time.

    Also, if you want information density the train info lines should display pertinent transfer information — for example, from Gallery Place you should be able to see when the next Orange line train to Vienna (that you can actually get on) leaves from the appropriate transfer station (‘Tfer Org to Vienna at Metro Ctr, 8 min’). The perfect example of the utility of that information would be getting from Eastern Market to, say, Cleveland Park late at night (or vice versa). If you knew you’d have to wait 17 minutes for a Red line train at Metro Center you might opt for a taxi, but if you saw it’d be a two minute transfer you’d take the train.

    But then that sort of information works against Metro, because it’s always a 17 minute transfer late at night, no matter the lines involved or your destination. Not that I’m bitter.

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