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Designing for Cities by Paul McConnell, Michael Clare

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Chapter 3. Case Studies

MTA On the Go

Figure 3-1. The MTA OTG kiosks simplify wayfinding and rider communications across the New York City subway system

Intersection has partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)/New York City Transit since 2012 to develop interactive touchscreens installed in stations throughout the subway system. This network of “On The Go” communication kiosks presented an opportunity for digital technology to improve the experience of using the largest public transit system in the Americas. Our challenge was to improve the wayfinding experience for subway riders under the existing technical constraints of a centuries-old underground transit system—all while creating a source of sustainable revenue via advertising sales for the MTA to expand and improve its services.

Understanding Riders and Systems

Navigating a city can be stressful, whether as a commuter getting to or from work or as a tourist trying to find a popular landmark. New York’s complex subway system can overwhelm your senses with its hordes of people, rapid movement, and prevalence of competing signage. While people at street level can use smartphones to access accurate and timely transit information, riders underground on platforms without a data connection don’t have such a luxury.

A project goal was to understand how our kiosks could fit into an established subway system ...

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