To offer passengers a more attractive, interesting and entertaining public-transport experience, many transport companies are offering multi-media infotainment in stations and vehicles: passenger information; the latest news on local and international politics, culture, sport and business; weather reports; television and cinema reviews and advertisements.
Large projection screens are installed on the walls of tunnels or between platforms in train and bus stations.
An editorial team produces the segments, which can include text, photo, video and computer-animated graphic sequences.
The information is projected on the screens using online technology, which allows the editorial team to make changes and additions to the ongoing programme at any time. Usually the programme runs in a ten- to fifteen-minute loop which is continuously repeated.
To provide the passenger with up-to-date and comprehensive information during the journey, many cities have also equipped buses and rail carriages with single or double screens.
Travel information (e.g. next stop, transfer to other lines, routes, information on delays) is provided by the transport authority's intermodal transport control system (ITCS), while there are multiple options for the general programming.
In stand-alone solutions, the programme is saved to the vehicle's computer and changed on a daily basis. Alternatively, the program saved to the vehicle computer can be updated by means of an external data transmission at defined locations (e.g. end stations), rather like a "data filling station", which allows the programming to keep up with ongoing developments. Or new data can be continuously transmitted, e.g. from a programming centre, using DAB (digital audio broadcasting) or DMB (digital multimedia broadcasting). This provides the most up-to-date flow of information.
Experience has shown that the technical and running costs can be financed through the operation of the infotainment system. In one model, the supplier provides the hardware and software to the transport company free of charge in return for advertising revenues; in most cases the transport company even receives a share of these revenues as payment for providing the advertising space. In another, the transport company installs the systems at their own cost and enters into a public-private partnership with an operator (e.g. an advertising agency) for these systems. In such cases the infotainment programme also runs on a ten- to fifteen-minute loop, which reflects the average amount of time a passenger usually spends in a transport vehicle.